September 2, 2021 12:45:10 am
Accounting for over 30 per cent of the dragon-fruit cultivation in India, the Gujarat government is bringing together large farmers of this exotic fruit, rechristened as Kamalam, on a single platform to help them export their produce to the European markets.
A five-day “Farm Fresh Kamalam and Fruit Mahotsav” will be launched in Ahmedabad Thursday where State Agriculture Minister RC Faldu is expected to be present.
“We are organising a farm festival dedicated to Kamalam fruit. About 30 large farmers of dragon fruit will participate in this event, which is meant to popularise the fruit locally. The acceptance of this fruit is low among people in Gujarat. It has a lot of good properties as it an anti-oxidant and has a lot of vitamins,” said Mahesh Singh, managing director of Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Limited (GAIC), a state-run entity that is organising the event from September 2 to 6, 2021.
Officials also said that the consumption of the fruit is beneficial for patients with diabetes, blood pressure and high cholesterol.
At present, over 350 farmers in Gujarat grow dragon fruit in over 1,200 hectares spread over 20 districts. “Earlier, we used to import this fruit. But for a few years we have been growing it in India, particularly in Gujarat. Now a lot of area has come under Kamalam fruit. The major districts involved in its cultivation include Kutch, Aravalli, Surat, Narmada, Chotta Udepur and Banaskantha,” Singh said adding that the fruit, scientifically referred as Hylocereusundatus, is famous for its nutraceutical properties.
A member of cacti family, it is known to grow in diverse climatic conditions with varied soils. “We are also encouraging farmers to come up with different products of dragon fruit and export it. There is a lot of potential in European markets,” he added. Official in Gujarat said that farmers in the state have already started exporting dragon fruit to markets in the Middle-East.
In August 2021, dragon fruit grown by farmers in Gujarat and West Bengal were exported to the United Kingdom and Bahrain. The consignment of the exotic fruit exported to London was sourced from farmers in Kutch district. There are three main varieties of dragon fruit: white flesh with pink skin, red flesh with pink skin and white flesh with yellow skin. At present, this fruit is grown in about 4,000 hectares in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, said officials.
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