clusters of foam, it seemed like to me, and I wasn't sure if it was a real problem or not... but it spread
and it was clearly affecting the growth...
a closer look revealed what looked like eggs
but I still couldn't see the bugs... I thought I spotted it with this brown beetle-like insect, but it was only when I looked at the photos afterwards, that I noticed the white fluffy-like insects.
Upon investigation, I'm somewhat concerned to find out that it is an invasive Papaya mealy bug - Paracoccus Marginatus. It doesn't restrict itself to papaya, and it's a "polyphagous sucking insect pest and has been recorded on more than sixty host plants in India." (The Hindu); 'polyphagous' means it eats different types of fruit and plants, and A Canadian in King Parakramabahu's Court (in Sri Lanka) reports it attacking lime trees, curry leaf and jasmine! Argh!
There's a detailed paper on this (by Alison Walker, Marjorie Hoy and Dale Meyerdirk), describing how it originated in Central America, has moved into Asia and tropical regions... It can be controlled by the introduction of other insects or "parasitoids", but that ain't much use to me...
Stay tuned for an attempt at organic control of this pest. All advice is welcome.