Dragon Fruits Cost of Cultivation
A Dragon Fruit Tree is basically a cactus vine of the Species Hylocereus. It is native to Central Americas but now grown all over the world specially in the tropical countries. It is a Fast Growing vine which requires a vertical cement pole support to grow on and then a ring to fall like an umbrella.
It has a life span of 20+ years, hence proper selection of poles & rings is important. Special RCC poles are casted to ensure a strong & lasting support. Normally four plants per pole are planted to give maximum yield. Proper Pole to Pole and Row to Row spacing is maintained for free movement during harvesting and maintenance work.
Basic nutrients & fertilizers are periodically applied as per the soil & water properties of each individual plantation. Metal framing is to be avoided as it may cause sun/heat burn to the plants.
Normally North-South rows are preferred in tropical climates where summer temperatures rise above 40 degrees. Excess sun heat may cause sunburn but remedial steps are easily available locally.
Not much disease effect this Plant, common problems like root rot, sunburn, bird attacks etc can be taken care of easily.
Dragon fruit - Pithaya, The ‘Wondrous Fruit’ of The 21st Century is set to ring in a revolution in the Indian horticulture scenario. It is a Boon to the farmers and consumers. Originally From The Central Americas It Is Successfully Grown Commercially In Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh And Now Knocking At Our Door In India.
Dragon Fruit plants can tolerate any type of soil, however they grow well in well draining soils. Water retaining soils can cause root rot and to avoid this fatal factor, soil may be mixed with sand or tiny stone gravels to facilitate water drainage.
India is a tropical country with moderate climate all round the year. Dragon fruit adapts well to tropical climates. Minor adjustments for extreme Indian climates can overcome all obstacles as far as climatic conditions are concerned.
Dragon fruit being a cactus requires very less water as compared to other crops/fruits. It can survive without water for months. Best recommended method of irrigation is Drip irrigation. Irrigation by flooding is not recommended as it wastes water and increases work of weeding. Approximately 1 to 2 litres of water per day per plant is sufficient during the summer/dry days. Water requirement may increase or decrease depending upon your soil, climate and Plant health.
Dragon fruit normally fruits after 18-24 months after plantation. It is a vegetative fruit plant which normally fruits during or after monsoons. It fruits in 3 to 4 waves during one season. Each Pole fruits approx 40 to 100 fruits per wave. Each fruit weighs about 300 to 1000 grams. One pole normally yields approx 15 to 25 kg of fruits. (Yield of 60/80kgs per pole have been reported in India) These fruits are sold in the market at Rs.300 to 400 per kg, but the general Farm rate is approx between Rs. 125 to 200 per kg.
A general calculation of annual income maybe calculated as follows:
One Acre x 400 Pole x 15 kg (least) x Rs.125 (Minimum) = Rs. 5,62,500=00 per Acre per Year.
Demand in India
A very few farmers in the Sates of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu have taken up Dragon fruit cultivation in India. The total all india area of dragon fruit cultivation maybe less than 100 acres. The awareness and demand for this fruit is huge in India mainly for its taste, nutritional and medicinal properties. India imports 95% of its requirement from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. This fruit also has a great potentiality for exports to the Gulf, European Union and USA.
Annual Bearing Season:-
Dragon fruit bears fruits for five months every year, usually from early summer through mid-fall.
It begins flowering in early summer, typically in June, with fruit formation occurring shortly afterward. Dragon fruit flowers are open in the evening and last only one evening. The flowers first form as small buttons, or buds, with two or three buds flowering within 13 days of their formation.
It takes the fruits about 50 days to reach maturity after flowering and pollination occurs, and the dragon fruit continues to flower and set new fruits throughout its fruit-bearing season.
Dragon fruit bears fruits for several months each year, and it can continue to produce fruits for decades when provided with adequate care and cultural conditions. Dragon fruit is a relatively long-lived perennial. It can produce its first fruits within one year of its establishment, and it can continue to fruit annually for 20 to 30 years before it begins to decline.
Dragon fruit can grow up to 40 feet tall, with the large and tall specimens producing more fruits than the small, young plants or those reaching the end of their lifespan. Warm weather and moist soil can increase the fruit-bearing season of a dragon fruit plant. In an area where temperatures remain above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a dragon fruit may flower and set fruits beyond the normal bearing season.
In a cooler climate, the bearing season may be shorter than the usual five months. Cool nighttime temperatures may prolong flower life, giving the blooms more time to become pollinated before they wilt and die, but fruit set isn't affected when the days are warm.
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