Want to do Dragon fruit farming in India? If yes, then we can assist you in this. Firstly we have to know, what is dragon fruit? So, here is the information about dragon fruit cultivation and its varieties.
Dragon fruit comes from the ornamental climbing vines and Cactaceae species. The taste of this fruit is delicately sweet but crunchy, and it looks alluring with its green scales and pink skin. The fruit was named dragon fruit because of its scaly appearance, similar to a dragon scaly. The size of this fruit is 6-12 cm, and its shape is oval. It has white pulp, which is filled with black edible seeds. So, if you are looking forward to practising commercial dragon fruit cultivation, then you are at the perfect place!
Basically, it is famous mainly in Thailand, Vietnam, Israel, and Sri Lanka, but it is growing in India. The dragon fruit price per kilogram in India is Rs. 150 to 250. You can see the highest production of this fruit where less rainfall is expected. Therefore, you can treat the dragon fruit plant as an ornamental climbing vine and fruit-producing plant. Apart from this, the uses of this fruit are: to consume it as fresh fruit or production of jams, fruit juice, ice creams, jelly, wine and face packs. The different types of names of this fruit are Pitaya, Pitahaya, queen of the night, strawberry pear and noblewoman throughout the world.
How to Do Dragon Fruit Farming in India
Let’s talk about how to cultivate dragon fruit. In this, we will let you know about
- Climate requirements for dragon fruit farming
- Suitable soil for dragon fruit cultivation
- Dragon fruit agriculture land preparation
- Dragon fruit plantation method
- Training of the dragon fruit plant
- dragon fruit fertiliser and manure
- dragon fruit Irrigation
- Pests and diseases
- Dragon fruit harvesting
So, let’s begin knowing how to start a dragon fruit farm. Also, where does dragon fruit grow and others?
Climate Requirements For Dragon Fruit Farming
This fruit plant grows in poor soil conditions and temperature variations. So, the tropical climate conditions are perfect for dragon fruit farming. The ideal annual rainfall for Protected Cultivation is 50 cm. The temperature for dragon fruit cultivation must be between 20 °C to 30 °C. The dragon fruit plants can not wear too much sunlight. So if you want to cultivate it in a high sunlight area, just do it by providing shading.
Soil for Dragon Fruit Cultivation
You can grow this fruit in different types of soil, from sandy loam to clay loam. However, the ideal soil for its cultivation is sandy soils with good organic matter and a perfect drainage system. The pH of 5.5 to 7 is best for dragon fruit farming.
Dragon Fruit Agriculture Land Preparation
You have to plough the field until the soil achieves its fine tilth and is weed-free. After that, you should apply any type of organic compost in a proportionate ratio.
Dragon Fruit Plantation Method
The most common dragon fruit propagation method is cuttings. However, you can also propagate it by seeds. But the seeds take a long time and will not continue their mother plant characteristics. That’s why the seeds method is not suitable if you are the owner of a commercial dragon fruit farm. So, if you want complete advantages of dragon fruit farming, you should use the plant cuttings from the quality mother plant. You should use the 20 cm cuttings for planting in the field. Moreover, you have to pile up cuttings 2 days before the plantation.
Now you can plant them with a mixture of dry cow dung. You should keep the plant to plant distance of 2 meters x 2 meters. You have to dig 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm for the size of the pits. In addition, you have to fill these pits with topsoil and manure, including 100 grams of superphosphate. You can accommodate about 1700 plants in 1 acre of land.
Training of the Dragon Fruit Plant
To get the huge dragon fruit farming profit or proper plant growth, you should give support of concrete or wooden columns. You have to tie Immature plants with these columns. To maintain the dragon shrub, you have to use a round/circular metal frame.
Dragon Fruit Fertiliser and Manure
For the good growth and development of the dragon fruit plant, organic manure plays a crucial role. You have to treat each plant with a minimum of 10 to 15 Kg of organic compost. After that, you have to increase the manure by 2 kg per year. Along with the organic, it also needs inorganic fertilisers to give good vegetative growth. The fertiliser ratio for vegetative stage is muriate of potash:superphosphate:urea = 40:90:70 grams /plant.
You also have to give a high amount of potash and a low amount of nitrogen at the fruit-bearing stage. Different types of fertilisers should be applied in the flowering to harvesting stages, including Urea:superphosphate:muriate of potash = 50:50:100 grams/plant. This solution can be given just before flowering, fruit developing, and after harvesting. It can increase the productivity of your dragon fruit farm.
Dragon Fruit Irrigation
This plant requires less water in comparison to others. So, you can irrigate it frequently during the planting, flowering & fruit development stages and hot/dry climate conditions. For effective water usage, you can use drip irrigation.
Pests and Diseases
This is the highest benefit in this farming in that it has no pests or diseases. So, you do not treat the plants with other chemicals. Therefore, it reduces the dragon fruit cultivation cost per acre.
Dragon Fruit Harvesting
Dragon fruit starts appearing on the plants in the first year. From Aug to Dec month, it bears the fruits, and fruits are ready for harvesting after one month of flowering. Apart from this, the flowering time continues till December. Picking up these fruits can be done up to 6 times within this period. When the fruits turn red, it is the best time for harvesting. The ideal time for harvesting is after 3 to 4 days of colour change. On the other hand, you should harvest them after 1 day of colour change for exporting. You can get 5 to 6 tonnes of production per acre.
Apart from this, let’s know about different states where you can practise dragon fruit farming in India.
Dragon Fruit Farming in the Different States of India
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that also has an increasing demand in India. Nowadays, the demand for this exotic fruit is increasing, but the supply is limited. That’s why dragon fruit farming can be profitable in India. Thus, the Indian farmers are taking a massive interest in this farming. The farmers from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are mainly involved in commercial dragon fruit cultivation. In addition, West Bengal, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are also taking up this fruit farming.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit contains several health benefits along with a delicately sweet taste. Let’s have an eye on the following benefits.
1. High in Nutrients
Dragon fruit has several nutrients, which helps people to stay fit and healthy. So, the nutrients are:
- Calories: 136
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fibre: 7 grams
- Iron: 8% of the RDI
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 29 grams
- Vitamin E: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 9% of the RDI
2. Fight Chronic Disease
Dragon Fruit has several types of potent antioxidants. And antioxidants neutralise free radicals to prevent cell damage and inflammation.
- Vitamin C : Studies have found vitamin C intake reduces the cancer risk.
- Betalains : Betalains can combat oxidative stress and can suppress cancer cells.
- Carotenoids : Carotenoids have the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
3. Good Source of Fibre
Health authorities say to take 38 grams of fibre for men and 25 grams for women per day. However, fibre is renowned for its role in digestion. It is also valuable for minimising heart diseases, managing type 2 diabetes, reducing the risk of colon cancer and maintaining healthy body weight.
4. Strengthens Immune System
Your Immune System (the body’s ability to fight infection) depends on different factors, including your diet quality. The dragon fruit may boost your body’s ability to fight infection and prevent disease as it has vitamin C and carotenoids. It can also protect your white blood cells from damage.
5. Keeps a Healthy Gut
The community of microorganisms can impact your health, and imbalances in your gut can promote the risk of asthma and heart disease. So, you can consume dragon fruit as it contains prebiotics. It can balance good bacteria in your gut.
6. Boost Low Iron Levels
Dragon fruit is an iron-containing fruit. The work of iron is to transport oxygen throughout the body. It also plays a vital role in breaking the food into energy.
7. Good Source of Magnesium
Dragon fruit offers magnesium around 18% of your RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) in just one cup. In addition, your body contains 24g of magnesium.
Importance of Dragon Fruit
Following are some other importance of dragon fruit.
- Helps in lowering cholesterol
- Helps in weight management
- High in fats and proteins
- Good source of antioxidants
- Helps in preventing arthritis
- Helps in improving heart health
- High in vitamins & minerals
- Helps in fighting against ageing
- Helps in preventing asthma
Dragon Fruit Varieties
Several dragon fruit types are available, which are cultivated across the world.
1. Hylocereus Undatus
Its other name is Pitahaya and has white flesh with pink skin. The fruit has 6-12 cm length, 4-9 cm thickness and edible black seeds. It is famous among types of dragon fruit.
2. Hylocereus Polyrhizus
Red Pitaya is the other name of this variety, and has red flesh with its pink skin. The native country of this variety is Mexico, but now it is available in many countries. This variety is profitable among different types of dragon fruit varieties.
3. Hylocereus Costaricencis
The other name of this variety is Costa Rican Pitaya, native to Costa Rica. It has violet-red flesh and pink skin, and its fruits are magenta, and the seeds are pear-shaped. You can easily cultivate this variety of dragon fruit in India.
4. Hylocereus (Selenicereus) Megalanthus
It’s native to South America and renowned for its white flesh with yellow skin. It looks beautiful among other dragon fruit varieties.
How to Eat Dragon Fruit
While the thick and leathery skin of dragon fruit can be intimidating, eating it is pretty simple. Unripe dragon fruit will be green, so look for the bright red one. Some spots are usual, but too many spots indicate overripe. A ripe dragon fruit must not be mushy like avocado or kiwi.
Let’s know how to eat dragon fruit.
- Take a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out white pulp with a spoon.
- You can cut the pulp into cubes without cutting into the peel.
- Push on the back of the skin to expose the cubes.
- Now, you can enjoy it or add it to salads.
Dragon Fruit Cultivation Bottom Line
You should prepare a dragon fruit business plan to start this farming. In this, you can include dragon fruit cultivation cost per acre, where dragon fruit is grown, where to sell dragon fruit in India and other factors. Moreover, it is profitable farming. So if you are going to do it commercially, just do it.
Frequently Asked Questions for Dragon Fruit Farming
Que. Where is dragon fruit grown?
Ans. Dragon fruit is grown in tropical conditions and places where less rainfall is expected.
Que. Where to sell dragon fruit in India?
Ans. You can sell dragon fruits in the domestic market or export them.
Que. How to cultivate dragon fruit?
Ans. Make a dragon fruit business plan and cultivate it easily.
Que. Can dragon fruit be grown in India?
Ans. Yes, dragon fruit can be grown in different states of India, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, etc.
Que. How profitable is dragon fruit farming?
Ans. Dragon fruit farming is very profitable. You can get a net profit of 4 lakhs in one-acre dragon fruit farming.
Que. Is there a demand for dragon fruit in India?
Ans. Yes, dragon fruit is in massive demand in Indian cities due to its nutritional value.
Que. How long does the dragon fruit plant take to bear fruit?
Ans. Dragon fruit plants bear fruits in the first year.
Que. What is dragon fruit cultivation cost per acre?
Ans. Rs 3 to 4 Lakh is the per-acre estimated cost for dragon fruit cultivation.