Centre to promote dragon fruit cultivation in 50,000 hectares
Following in the footsteps of the Gujarat and Haryana governments, the Center has decided to promote the cultivation of dragon fruit, which is known as "super fruit" for its health benefits.
The centre is planning to expand dragon fruit cultivation in India considering nutritional values, cost-effectiveness and global demand.
Currently, this exotic fruit is being cultivated in India in 3,000 hectares, which is planned to be increased to 50,000 hectares in five years.
About dragon fruit (Kamalam)
Dragon fruit originated in Central and South America and has also spread to Asian countries.
It is the fruit of a species of wild cactus indigenous to South and Central America.
It is also called pitaya or pitahaya.
It belongs to the cacti family.
The fruit is fleshy with tiny black seeds.
The inner part of the fruit is consumed while the outer part is discarded.
The plant grows nearly five to six feet in height during which time it requires support.
Cultivation of Dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is also cultivated in Thailand, Taiwan, China, Australia, Israel, and Sri Lanka apart from its native Latin America.
It was introduced to India in the 1990s, and is grown in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It is grown in all types of soil and does not require much water.
At present, Mizoram is at the forefront in the states cultivating this fruit.
The export of the fruit has made a huge contribution to Vietnam’s GDP.
All the states of India except the cold regions are suitable for dragon fruit plants.
It is considered beneficial for diabetic patients, is low in calories and is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, potassium and zinc.
It is rich in Vitamin C and is believed to be helpful in improving the platelet count during infectious diseases.
It doesn’t need much water and can be cultivated on dry land.
It gives maximum production from non-productive, less fertile areas.
This is beneficial for a lot of farmers.
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