A number of commercial growers of the cash crop is gradually increasing owing to lucrative prices of their produce in US, Vietnam, Mexico, and other countries as well as in local markets
Farmers in Jhenaidah are opting to cultivate Dragon fruit— a non-conventional delicious fruit—for its high value in local and foreign markets.
A number of commercial growers of the cash crop is gradually increasing owing to lucrative prices of their produce in US, Vietnam, Mexico, and other countries as well as in local markets.
Dragon fruit, a special cactus species, is very popular for its complex disease-prevention capabilities, medicinal properties, as well as abundance of vitamins and nutrients.
Borhan Uddin, one of the few farmers who initiated Dragon fruit cultivation in the region, is a marketing manager at Universal Poultry Hatcheries of Kaliganj. He is determined to become successful through the farming this foreign fruit.
After getting technical support from Agriculturist Dr Rustam Ali, Borhan leased one bigha (33 decimal) land and started farming in the Mundia village of the Kaliganj upazila in February, 2014.
Borhan’s 580 plants bore fruits after 16 months, which earned him Tk3 lakh in the first year. He sells his fruits in Jessore, Dhaka, Khulna and other local markets at a price range of Tk400 to Tk800 per kg.
"My profit was a little less in the first year because of the high initial investment. But the cost became insignificant with high returns in the following years," he said.
Along with Borhan, other farmers in the district, Swapan, Golam Kibria, Monirujjaman, Shahinur Rahman of Sanbandha Village, Abdul Majid of Beledanga, Liton of Banuria, Atiar Rahman of Chanchra, Kabir Hossain, Tipu Sultan of Trilochonpur, who used to cultivate flowers, strawberries, rice, wheat, jute are now commercially cultivating the fruit.
Ashraf Hossain Swapan, who expanded his fruit orchard to 17 bighas of land within three years, is also counting handsome profit and mentions, the plants live for 15 to 20 years providing fruits in short space of time with less effort and maintenance.
Kaliganj Upazila Agriculture Officer, Jahidul Karim said: "Dragon fruit contains more than 3 times the amount of vitamin C found in carrots.
The seeds are the flavonoids in Dragon fruit which lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. It is also low in calories, reduces oxidative stress and artery stiffness and prevents complications associated with diabetes. The high antioxidant levels lower the risk of many types of cancer."
"For its high health value, Dragon fruits are gaining popularity in local markets as well. Our agriculturists and officials are providing help, trainings, field visits to local farmers. In the Kaliganj upazila, Dragon fruit cultivation expanded to 25 acres with 15 farmers investing in the fields," he further added.