Commencement of assistance to farmers through Horticulture Department under the National Agricultural Development Scheme for cultivation of Dragon Fruit
Farmers of Karjan, Dabhoi, Waghodia and Padra talukas of Vadodara district have applied to take advantage of the scheme
Farmers in areas including Kutch and Central Gujarat have started cultivating the lotus fruit of the Thor clan popularly known as Dragon Fruit as a new farming venture.
Now the Horticulture Department of the State has started providing assistance to the agri entrepreneurs cultivating this nutritious fruit under the National Agricultural Development Scheme as per the criteria laid down in the scheme. This fruit was included in the aid scheme for the purpose of increasing the area under cultivation of lotus fruit.
Yogeshbhai Patel, horticulture officer, Deputy Director, Horticulture, Vadodara, said that till now, the new crop was not included in the Horticulture Department's assistance schemes. But now the norms have been framed to provide assistance to farmers who cultivate this crop.
Accordingly, a maximum of two hectares for Dragon Fruit farming is eligible for assistance. Assistance for cultivation of this fruit can be availed at 50 percent of decided rate of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per hectare. That is a maximum of Rs. 1.25 lakh assistance is available under the scheme. This assistance can be obtained for planting in maximum two hectares.
He said this is the first year of launching an aid scheme for the cultivation of this crop. About 10 farmers of Karjan, Dabhoi, Waghodia and Padra talukas of the district have applied for assistance. Farmers are being informed by the Horticulture Office.
Harmanbhai Patel of Nana Habipura village in Dabhoi taluka started cultivating dragon fruit courageously and has achieved remarkable success. People from the surrounding area buy this fruit from his farm.
He congratulated the state government and the Horticulture Department for launching the assistance scheme.
To cultivate this fruit, they say, a structure of cement piles has to be built. So the initial cost is high and the crop is harvested in about three years of planting, so big farmers can afford this crop. But with the help of financial help due to the aid scheme, the burden will ease and small and medium farmers will be able to do this farming. They say that farmers can benefit from keeping the schemes as simple as possible.
Kartik Maharaja, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said that the Department of Social Forestry provides planting assistance for the cultivation of this fruit. Interested farmers can contact the Horticulture Department behind the Raopura Police Station and the office of the Social Forestry Department near Van Bhavan for detailed information.
At present applications can be made on the portal https://ikhedut.gujarat.gov.in till 31st July.