Dragon fruit is cactus species which is also known as pitaya. It is found mainly in Vietnam, Israel, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Due to the favourable climate, it can also be grown in India. Low rainfall areas are considered best for cultivating dragon fruit. Dragon fruit can be eaten fresh, and also used in jam, jelly, ice cream, juice, etc.Dragon fruit contains plenty of protein and vitamins. It helps fight diseases like asthma, diabetes and arthritis.
The important aspects of dragon fruit farming:
Climate for dragon fruit farming - Tropical climate is ideal for dragon fruit cultivation. It can also be cultivated in low-quality climate and areas where the temperature is higher. The ideal rainfall for dragon fruit cultivation is 50 cm. The ideal temperature for cultivation is 20 to 30 degree Celsius.
Soil for dragon fruit farming - Dragon fruit can be cultivated in different types of soil but sandy loam soil is best for it.
Land preparation – The land should be plowed 2 to 3 times to achieve the tilth. At the time of the last plowing, farm yard manure should also be added to the field.
Propagation and plantation in dragon fruit - Cutting is mainly used for dragon fruit cultivation. Seeds can also be used, but use of cuttings is more common at commercial level cultivation. 20 cm long cutting is used for transplantation. Its cutting should be kept for about two days before transplanting on the field. To plant the cuttings of dragon fruit, 60 × 60 × 60 cm sized pits should be formed at a distance of 2 meters. Pits should be added with 100 grams of super phosphate along with farm manure before transplanting. About 1500 cuttings are needed for transplanting in the one-hectare land.
Training of the dragon fruits - To keep the dragon fruit straight and firm, a concrete or wooden column is erected near each plant.
Use of fertilizers - About 10 kg organic fertilizers should be given in each pit. During vegetable growth, muriate of potash 40g, super phosphate 90g and 70g uria should be used for every plant.
Irrigation in dragon fruit cultivation - Dragon Fruit plants need irrigation at the flowering and the fruit formation stages. In the case of drought, irrigation should be done more frequently.
Harvesting of dragon fruit - Dragon fruit trees start to bear fruits after about one year of plantation. The plants flower in May June and fruit in August to December months.
Average production - About 5 tons of dragon fruit can be produced from a hectare farm. One kg of dragon fruit costs around 250 rupees.
Dragon Fruit is gaining popularity in India because of its essential health benefits. Due to the ever-increasing demand in the country and abroad, there is a growing trend among farmers in terms of its production.
For more information about dragon fruit, contact the district agriculture officer.