The enterprising farmers in Andhra Pradesh have taken up cultivation of Dragon Fruit crop from last year and the yields are encouraging to the farmers. (AFP file photo)
KAKINADA: The enterprising farmers in Andhra Pradesh have taken up cultivation of Dragon Fruit crop from last year and the yields are encouraging to the farmers.
The fruit is cultivated in seven districts and chief minister Jagan gave a target of 200 hectares for this cultivation in the state.
The central government will meet the seed cost up to five acres per farmer under the extension of new crop scheme.
The farmers have to construct cement or rock pillars in the fields to cultivate the creeper-like crop. Some 400 such pillars are needed per acre and four saplings have to be planted to each pillar.
Experts told the farmers that they can get the yield within a year of its planting. But, farmers say they are getting the yield within nine months. Farmer Machina Rambabu of Nayakampalli village is cultivating Dragon Fruit crop on an acre near the National Highway near Rangampeta in East Godavari district.
He had planted the seedlings in November 2020 and got 500kg of the crop in May. He got Rs 300 per kilo of the fruit.
Big shopping malls are buying these fruits, grading, packing and selling them to customers. However, some farmers say they got only Rs 150 to Rs 200 per fruit.
Horticulture department deputy director Rammohan Rao said the fruit is also called "desert crop’’ as there is no need for much water. The price is encouraging at present but if the crop is cultivated on a larger scale, there is a chance of the price falling in the market. So farmers should expect no more than Rs 45 to Rs 50 per kilo. However, this is a suitable crop in upland areas to get yields with lowest investment, he said.
According to the farmers, an investment of Rs 6 lakh is required per acre initially, but the yield will continue for upto 20 years.
Horticulture deputy director for West Godavari Dr Panduranga said a subsidy of Rs 35,000 per hectare is being given to the farmers for this purpose by the state government.
Sirisha, director of an NGO, said the organisation is supplying seeds or plants to farmers across the state including the Krishi Viznana Kendram and the nursery cost would be met by the central government. Her organisation is also facilitating a buy-back agreement with the farmers for marketing their crop.