Dragon fruit has recently garnered considerable attention from cultivators in Mexico, Thailand and India, due to the fruit’s economic value and its vast health benefits that have led to high demand.
In several districts of Uttar Pradesh, numerous farmers are opting to cultivate this exotic fruit alongside traditional crops. They are attracted by the promising returns on investment and government subsidies, a shift from the fruit’s previous exclusive growth in the southern and eastern states of India.
“Dragon fruit yields rapid returns with economic production within the first year of planting, reaching full production in 3-4 years. Once planted, a dragon fruit plant continues to produce for 20-25 years, with an average economic yield of 10 tons per acre after two years,” revealed Meva Ram, the district horticulture officer (DHO) of Mirzapur, who introduced the concept to farmers in 2015.
“The demand is so high that farmers are struggling to keep up. Even local markets are unable to meet the export demands,” mentioned the DHO, who claimed his region produces the highest number of dragon fruit in the state to his knowledge.
According to the Department of Horticulture, the cultivation of exotic fruits such as avocado, blueberry, strawberry, and dragon fruit is rapidly gaining traction among farmers in Uttar Pradesh, with the Mirzapur, Prayagraj, and Sonbhadra regions leading the way.