Papaya (Carica papaya) is native to tropical America . Its fruits range in shape from longish oval or nearly round. Ripe papayas have light to dark yellow skin and yellow, orange to light red or red flesh. The papaya flesh is sweet, succulent with an aromatic to musky flavour. It is high in Vitamins A and C.
Papaya fruits grow on tall straight trees that have leaf scars running in spirals all over their trunk. Their large leaves are divided into 5-9 irregular segments and grow at the top of the tree. All parts of the plant, including the leaves, produce white latex when they are punctured.
The papaya grows well in the tropics. It thrives in areas where there is even rainfall throughout the year but without flooding or water-logging as well as being sheltered from strong winds.
Other than being eaten fresh, papaya is also used occasionally in jams, preserves and canned in fruit cocktails. The young fruit is eaten as a vegetable or pickled. Papain, an enzyme found in the white latex, is used as a meat tenderiser.
The major papaya producing countries are Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico, India and Indonesia. Brazil production of papaya accumulated for about 26 percent the global papaya production.
Mexico is the world largest exporter of papaya, accounting for 30 percent of global papaya export. Malaysia rank 2 nd in the world among papaya exporter. Other major exporting countries are Brazil, Belize and United State of America.
The major importing countries are United State of America, China and Singapore.