In a boost to fruit exports from India, a consignment of Dragon Fruit has been despatched to Dubai. The fruit is also locally called Kamalam as it resembles a lotus in appearance.
The consignment of Dragon Fruit for exports was sourced from the farmers of Tadasar village in Sangli district of Maharashtra and processed and packed at APEDA recognized exporter M/s Kay Bee, the commerce ministry said.
Scientifically referred to as Hylocereusundatus, the dragon fruit is grown in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, USA and Vietnam.
Dragon fruit production started in India in early 1990s and has become increasingly popular in recent years as it has been taken up for cultivation by farmers in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The cultivation of the fruit does not require much water and it can be grown in various kinds of soils. There are three main varieties of dragon fruit: white flesh with pink skin, red flesh with pink skin, and white flesh with yellow skin.
Prime Minister NarendraModi in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme in July 2020 on All India Radio had mentioned about dragon fruit farming in the arid Kutch region of Gujarat. He had congratulated the farmers of Kutch for the cultivation of the fruit and diversifying the country’s agriculture. for ensuring India’s self-reliance.
The fruit is a health food as it contains fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It helps in repairing damage to cells in the body caused by oxidative stress. It can also reduce inflammation and improve the digestive system. Since the fruit has spikes and petals resembling a lotus, it is also referred to as ‘Kamalam’.
APEDA, a government organisation that promotes exports of agricultural & processed food products by providing assistance to exporters through Infrastructure Development, Quality Development and Market Development functions under the Commerce Ministry and is porving to be a great help to farmers.