Harmanbhai, an experimental farmer from Dabhoi taluka cultivating this exotic fruit since 2016
In Sunday’s Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister has lauded the efforts of Kutch farmers for successfully cultivate the foreign dragon fruit. He said that the farmers of Kutch are committed not to import this fruit which is becoming popular in snacks. The decision is a passion for self-reliance.
It is worth mentioning that Harman Bhai Dahyabhai Patel, an experimental farmer from Mota Habipura village in Dabhoi taluka of Vadodara district, has been cultivating this exotic fruit in the form of a new horticulture experiment since 2016. He cultivate almost entirely pure using organic manure, and plant-derived nectar. As a result, the fruit from his farm is almost sold in the local market and customers buying them from home. Inspired by this experiment, farmers of Bhilapur and Berampura in Dabhoi taluka have recently started cultivating dragon fruit on experimental basis.
Expressing his feeling that such farming experiments can be done and have success if there is determination in the mind, Harman Bhai said, he had tried to cultivate oil palm but failed. Without losing hope he experimented with dragon fruit farming as a new venture. He also had success after watched various videos and saw a farmer from Nandurbar in Maharashtra did Dragon fruit farming.
Farmers has the urge to take various measures to get success in their crops. Giving details of his farming Harmanbhai said, this fruit does not tolerate temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and is prone to damage. Temperatures remain high in Kutch and Jamnagar but windmills in these areas gives the required cooling for the plants.
However he was in dilemma as there was no such facility in his area. As a solution, he experimented with sprinkling sour buttermilk on the roots to keep the plants cool in high temperature environment and the plants were spontaneously protected. To a large extent, he use only organic manure made from cow dung which satisfies the need of both manure and pesticide. However he forced to use pesticides after the plant is found to be infested with military caterpillars during the dry season.
He says, red, yellow and white are the three types of dragon fruit, but the red are is more in demand because of the sweetness. He has planted 2000 plants in three and a half acres of land. July to December is the fruiting season and with proper care, a plant bears 15 to 20 kg of fruit per year. These plants are grown with the support of cement pillars.
Dr. Smita Pillai, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department Vadodara said, an experimental tribal farmer from Narmada district has also been cultivating dragon fruit and the Horticulture Department has taken note of these experiments.
This exotic fruit is thus the product of the thorny plant. At one time such thorns were used to make farm fences. Our experimental farmers have adopted such thorns as a fruit crop and placed it in the middle of the field. By adopting this new farming with self-motivation, they have shown the way towards self-reliance.