Dragon Fruit is recently trending all over the internet.

The reason for the same is a decision by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, to rename Dragon Fruit and call it “Kamalam” for its resemblance to a lotus. Chief Minster said the word Dragon is ‘associated with China’ and most suitable name for the Fruit is ‘Kamalam’.

The announcement comes a few months after Prime Minister Modi praised farmers in the radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for growing the Kamalam Fruit in dry and arid Kutch Region of Gujarat.

Origin of the Kamalam Fruit

Now as Kamalam Fruit is grabbing all the attention let us know more about this Exotic Fruit. The tropical Fruit is said to have first originated from Central and Latin America. The Fruit belongs to Hylocereus Genus and is part of several cactus species indigenous to Latin and Central America.It is now cultivated and consumed all over the world.

The Southeast Asian country Vietnam is leading producer and exporter of the Fruit.It exported around US$ 1 billion of the Fruit last year. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that production area for Dragon Fruit in the country is around 57,000 Hectares with output more than 5 lakh tonnes. 

Health benefits of eating Kamalam Fruit

The pulp of the Kamalam Fruit is low in calories and fat-free. It contains plenty of fibers and nutrients like Carotenoids, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin C. It is rich in antioxidants. The fibers present in it helps to ease the digestive system. The nutrients present in it strengthens your immune system and also reduces risk of of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

How Kamalam Fruit is Cultivated ?

Growing Kamalam Fruit is not so costly affair. Cultivating the Fruit requires plant saplings, concrete pillar and old discarded bike tyres. Tilting of the land is not required before sowing the saplings.All you need to do is install 7-8 feet concrete pillars by maintaining a reasonable distance between them. Up to 4 saplings can be planted on one pillar. The Fruit requires very less water and can also be irrigated with drip system. As there are severe thrones and spikes all over the plant there is no harm from birds and animals. The plant is free from pest, insects attack and diseases.

However the Fruit is vulnerable and has to be harvested within one week of maturity or else pest and insects may cause the damage. Natural organic manure and cow dung is sufficient for the plant nutrition. No other special and costly fertilizers are required. According to horticulture experts, it takes a minimum of 2-3 years for the  plant to mature and give good harvest. A fully grown plant yields an harvest of about 12-15 kg per pillar.This plant bears Fruit all around the year and can sustain till 18-20 years. Farmers can earn about Rs 150-200  per kg of the Fruit from the market as per report by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR).

Profitable for Farmers

Farmers across different states in India like Gujarat, Maharashtra,Tamilnadu and Kerala, have started commercial cultivation of the Fruit. The red Kamalam Fruit that grows in India is of said to be superior quality in comparison from the white Fruit that comes from China and Vietnam. The economics of cultivating the Fruit depicts a profitable picture.

A brief and approximate calculation is summarized as below. (Cost in Rupees)

Land Size1 Acre
Number of pillars
Price per pillar
Cost of Installing pillars  
450
150
70,000
Number of Saplings
Price per Sapling
Cost of Sapling  
1800
70
1,26,000
Number of used Tyre
Price Per Tyre
Cost of Tyre  
450
50
20,000
Other Inputs Cost: Manure, Water and Labour80,000  

Total Initial Investment Amount: Rs 3 Lakh /Per Acre

Profit after Harvesting

Year Kg per Pillar No of PillarsTotal Production     Price Per Kg Total Income Rs
2nd Year24509001501,35,000
3rd  Year545022001503,37,000
4th  Year1045045001506,75,000

State and central governments also provides subsidy for cultivation of the Fruit. More details regarding cultivation and various subsidy schemes can be obtained from National Horticulture Board and Horticulture Department of Gujarat .

The above calculation is based on data and information collected from farmers and is just a rough estimation. However the figure may vary according to prevailing market conditions.

The Niti Aayog in its recent report  named ‘Doubling Farmers Income’ had said that crop diversification is a major step that all farmers should take to increase their incomes. Kamalam Fruit is one of the major crops that could be adopted for this measure with demand for it increasing every year. Cultivation of Kamalam Fruit on a commercial scale can be a big boost to Atmanibhar Bharat Abhiyaan initiated by Prime Minister Modi and thus can fetch a huge profit for the farmers.

Written by  : Ankit Bulsara

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