India to expand dragon fruit farming from 3,000 ha to 50,000 ha in five years

New Delhi: The popularity of kamalam is growing rapidly in the country as the import quantity increased from 327 tonnes in 2017 to 15,491 tonnes in 2021

BY | Tuesday, 14 March, 2023
Representational image (Credit: Quang Le)

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India announced its plan to expand the cultivation of dragon fruit, ‘kamalam’ in Sanskrit, to meet the domestic demand of the fruit and reduce import.

Presently, the total area under cultivation of dragon fruit in India is more than 3,000 hectares and the ministry has set a target to increase the area to 50,000 ha in five years so that the import will be totally substituted through domestic cultivation.

In India, the cultivation of the fruit is fast picking up and farmers of a few states including Nagaland have taken up its cultivation but majority of the dragon fruits available in Indian market is imported from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, MoA&FW stated. The projected import value of the fruit for 2021 was about ₹100 crores.

Representational image (Credit: brendawood33)

Known as “Wondrous Fruit of the 21st century”, the popularity of kamalam is growing rapidly in the country. The import quantity increased from 327 tonnes in 2017 to 15,491 tonnes in 2021.

Widely known as Pitaya, dragon fruit has its origin in Southern Mexico, Central America and South America. The herbaceous perennial climbing cactus has a life expectancy of about 20 years and yields fruit in the first year after planting, attaining full production in 3-4 years. Average economic yield after 2 years of planting is 10 tonnes per acre.

The Ministry has said that present the market rate is Rs 100 per kg fruit, so the revenue generated by selling fruits per year is Rs 10,00,000. Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) is: 2.58.

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Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Kamalam Fruit to be set up at IIHR, Bengaluru

The MoA&FW has further announced that a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Kamalam has been approved under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). The Centre will be established by Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, Karnataka at Hirehalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka on 09-03-2023 to focus on production, post-harvest and value addition of the fruit.

The Centre will work for development of latest production technology as per the international standard and off-season production and demonstration of these technologies for high yield production. The Centre will aim to achieve self-sustenance in dragon fruit production, value addition and enhancing economic development of the farming community, the ministry added.

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