1. Agriculture World

Growing Importance of Dragon Fruit Market in India

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

The Dragon Fruit business in gradually improving in India and in recent years farmers in the Sates of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu have taken up Dragon fruit cultivation actively. As there are lots of advantages associated with this fruit, domestic cultivation is quite encouraging in different states of the country.

There are lots of advantages of dragon fruit cultivation as well as doing business. Firstly, it grows in any type of soil. Secondly the plant requires minimum maintenance as well as water intake. Thirdly Dragon Fruit has the ability to tolerate the climatic conditions of India. Another advantage is that commercially one can expect returns 2nd or 3rd year after planting. Not many business ventures start giving returns so early. The cuttings of the plant can be re-used for selling or further propagation. There is generally good demand for the product in global and international market. The fruit of the plant has a good taste hence demand is quite healthy for the product.

In terms of cultivation, Karnataka is fast emerging as the country’s leading dragon-fruit cultivation. Increasing support from scientists through technical counseling from Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) has also promoted the cultivation in different parts of the country. Data says that growing of Dragon Fruit in Karnataka has gained momentum in last few years. Technical support from the IIHR is a key factor contributing for the recent growth. The role of IIHR in growth of Dragon Fruit cultivation during 2018-2019 is praiseworthy since its regular activities has encouraged farmers of states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra to attend a session on dragon fruit farming organized by the IIHR at its experimental farm at Hirehalli in Tumakuru district last year. As scientists from Odisha and West Bengal are also in touch with the Hirehalli station, cultivation prospects of this plant in these states have also increased.

Demand for Dragon Fruit is seen for specific segment i.e. has a niche market and is rich in vitamin C. It has betalains which are actually beneficial nutrients with anti-oxidant properties. The fruit is also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous, necessary for boosting the body’s immune system. Dragon fruit is a climber that needs support and needs an investment 3-4 lakh per acre in infrastructure as per market/expert advises. Rates for the fruits fetch the market for Rs.300 to 400 per kg. The general Farm rate is between Rs. 125 to 200 per kg. In India Dragon fruit demand remains high mainly due to its taste, in addition to nutritional and medicinal properties. The fruit suits tropical and sub-tropical climates and can withstand temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius. Also, it is ideal for places where there is water shortage. These conditions are quite similar to number of states of India, therefore the cultivation potential in increasing year on year in the country.

Summing up, importance of dragon fruit market is growing in India and it business potential remains high. Its popularity can be understood from the fact that a number of doctors/business men/IT professionals in the country have taken up dragon fruit cultivation in large scale and generated decent returns through its marketing. Important to note, there is need to market the fruit actively. Use of the fruit should be popularized, especially its health benefits, through trade fairs etc.

Before taking up cultivation, the farmers or growers should conduct a thorough study in order to ensure the possible business avenues or identify the target markets – be it a domestic or international geographical location. Experiments and farming surveys indicate that one can expect 5 to 6 tonnes of yield per acre, third year onwards. Going for market tie-ups is also recommended by the experts, if you are planning to venture into farming and business of Dragon Fruit. The All India area of Dragon Fruit cultivation has the scope to expand further in years to come.

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