Farmer from Gani took Dragon fruit cultivation : An Exotic crop to juice up profits

Somappa Teggi, a farmer based in Gani village, near Jamkhandi , Karnataka has been growing lemon,grapes,papaya and watermelon in the past few years. But the dragon fruit got his attention when he first saw it in Sangli, Maharastra. It is a crop in which dream comes true he agrees.

Hylocereus undatus or dragon fruit is originally belongs to South America and is largely grown in South East Asia,Taiwan,Australia and Sri Lanka. This fruit was used to be imported in India. Now many of the farmers started growing it in India which promises good profits.

In 2017 he managed to get 100 samplings from Sangli and prepared 2 acres of land for plantation.

Dragon fruit cultivation requires a temperature between 25 to 30 degree Celsius and can tolerate up to 38 degree Celsius of temperature. According to him it takes 3 years for the crop to give good harvest. Pomogranate can be grown as intercrop until the dragon fruit matures he says. Dragon fruit is a climber cacti, and needs a support of pillar. He had spent initial investment of 2.5 lack for concrete pillars and also has drip irrigation system.

At present, farmers get ₹150 a kg for the fruit, with the fruit itself roughly weighing around 1 kg. It is possible to recover the investments in the third year and easily get up to 5 tonnes of yeild per acre from the third year . He is confident of getting revenue of 5 lack this year.

He grows two types of fruits, one red colour fruit with white colour flesh and another with red colour flesh. There are about 500 concrete pillars in 2 acres , 4 plants per pillar. Organic matter plays a key role in dragon fruit development. Each plant is applied with 15 kg of organic compost.

These plants have less water requirement compared to other crops. However at the time of planting, flowering and fruit development hot dry climatic conditions with frequent irrigations are required. It is interesting to know that no pest and diseases reported in dragon fruit he says. Plant starts flowering in may to June month and bears fruits from August to December.

\”This fruit has many health benefits\” he says and has good demand in national and international markets and is rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants. It is also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous and boosts the body’s immune system.

Many of the farmers took grape cultivation in his village which requires lots of investment and is a labourius crop. But this farmer managed to establish his successful dragon fruit farm which is inspiring.

Author: Sunil Biradar
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