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Dragon fruits for everyone: Plan of a young Kaushambi Farmer

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Ravindra Pandey

Ravindra Pandey, owner of the brand, Dragon Fruit Kaushambi was interviewed by Divya S. Kaimal recently. She started by asking him to detail his story as a farmer. He said when he started with farming dragon fruits, he had some problems in marketing, as there was not much awareness about the fruit. Then he decided to start his own brand, “Dragon Fruit Kaushambi”, which he promoted through Social Media. He did this to demonstrate to the fruit loving public what dragon fruit is. Following this, he was able to sell his fruits to interested customers.

Why dragon fruits?

We asked him why he chose to grow dragon fruits, to which he replied that in 2016 there was shortage of water in his district. Some parts of the district are in the dark zone, i.e. you cannot install tube wells as there is no groundwater. To counter this, District Magistrate Shri Akhand Pratap Singh introduced dragon fruit farming to our district. Dragon fruit trees requires very little water for irrigation and the dragon fruit trees bear fruits for 20-25 years. These plants and trees are easy to look after and the sale of the fruits is profitable.

Next, he was questioned how are his Kaushambi dragon fruits different from other dragon fruits, how is his fruit better. He said that the fruits from their district are blood red in colour after slicing. This fruit is known as "Thailand red" in some countries. It is high quality and full of nutrition. It is good in taste and it's red colour with it’s shape is very good to look at.

Dragon Fruit Farm

Initial problems

He was questioned on the difficulties he faced initially. To which he replied that the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra or the department of horticulture like everyone around did not know much about the fruit and how to grow it. So we all worked together and it took us a year or so to figure out what manure to use and in what quantity and how to irrigate. We found out that organic farming is the way to grow this and chemicals, fertilizers will do more harm than good to these trees. He uses only organic manure to grow and maintain his trees. He uses Jeev Amrit, biogas bio slurry, decomposers from ground as they found that organic is much better way to go forward. They intend to continue with organic farming and all new farmers are advised to farm the organic way. He also provides seedlings with full information about the organic process to the farmers.

Selling the fruits

On being asked how he sells his fruits he replied that he receives some orders through Social Media like his Facebook page. He also sells his products locally at Manjhanpur town and to cities like Allahabad, Prayagraj. He said that Government has not made any special arrangements for sale of dragon fruits at the mandis, hence they try to sell their products directly to customers or to, one step up on the marketing ladder, the retailers.

Another view of the farm

We asked him if he still faces any problems with sales of his dragon fruits he replied, there is no problem with sales, even the respected Prime Minister Ji has named the fruit, Chief Minister Ji has commented about it and now the public is aware of and interested in these fruits. Now the customers know the qualities of the fruit and the farmers know the benefits of farming it.

We asked him to tell us the size of his land over which he does his farming activity. He replied that he has planted dragon fruit trees over a quarter of an acre and every year they sell fruits earning over 2 Lakhs. He said that the trees start giving fruits in a year and a half's time. They sell the fruit at Rs 70- Rs 120 per piece.

Message for the farmers

We requested him to give some message to his fellow farmers and he said that the dragon fruit growers must use organic fertilizers like cow dung, use cow urine, learn new methods and inputs from videos on YouTube. Do not use chemicals and you don't have to make much effort looking after these trees. You can make your own bio fungicide to fight fungus. If you have problems with sales, please approach your local doctors, tell them of its benefits so that they tell their patients to buy their fruits for better health. Our local doctors having seen the positive effect of this fruit on their patients started recommended dragon fruits instead of kiwis. This fruit generates platelets 5 times faster than kiwis, and is a much tastier option than kiwis especially for kids who find kiwis bland. 

On being asked about the future of his product, he said so far dragon fruits are seen as rich man's fruit but he wants his fruits to be accessible to the general public, the commoners. He is working with the local farmers to make sure that these fruits should not be seen as a product for "5 Star hotels" only, but for everyone.

We asked him if he would like more platforms to sell, he said following branding he had no issues with sales. He said he is trying to increase his farming area and as his production increases, he will need more consumers to sell to. To see more about his work please visit https://dragonfruitkaushambi.business.site/. To see the video for yourself please click here.

Ravindra Pandey

Ravindra Pandey

Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh

Dragon Fruit Kaushambi

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