Kamalam or Dragon Fruit, a climbing cactus plant, is widely known for its economic value and health benefits. The fruit is native to Southern Mexico, Central and South America, and is now being cultivated in more than 22 countries worldwide, including India.
Kamalam or Dragon Fruit provides a fast return with economic production in the first year after planting, and full production is attained in 3-4 years. The crop has a life expectancy of about 20 years and can yield up to 10 tonnes per acre after two years of planting. With a market rate of Rs. 100 per kg fruit, revenue generated per year can be up to Rs. 10,00,000. This provides great economic benefits to farmers who cultivate Kamalam fruit.
Benefits of Kamalam or Dragon fruit for farmers
- High yield: Kamalam is a crop that provides quick returns and cost-effective production during its early growth stages, although it typically takes a few years to reach its full production potential. In comparison to other crops, Kamalam has a longer lifespan and usually generates a significant amount of economic output after the initial years of planting.
- Profitable market: Currently, Kamalam is being sold in the market at a rate of Rs 100 per kg of fruit, resulting in a yearly revenue of Rs 10,00,000 through fruit sales. Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) is: 2.58. With increasing demand for Kamalam in India and abroad, the market for this fruit is expected to grow, providing farmers with a profitable market.
- Minimal input requirements: Kamalam is a low-input crop and requires minimal fertilizers and pesticides. As a result, farmers can minimize their input costs and increase their profits.
- Drought-resistant crop: Kamalam is a drought-resistant crop and can grow well in areas with water scarcity. This can benefit farmers in dry regions where other crops may not thrive.
- Government support: The government of India is supporting the cultivation of Kamalam under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) in Bengaluru is set to establish the Center of Excellence (CoE) for Kamalam Fruit. This will provide farmers with access to the latest production technology, high-performance varieties, and quality planting material, as well as training and support for post-harvest handling and value addition.
Important key points
- The Centre of Excellence that is established by IIHR in Bangalore will focus on developing high-performance varieties, propagating techniques, post-harvest handling and storage and value-added products and processes for product diversification.
- The objective of the government is to attain self-sufficiency in Kamalam fruit production, boost economic growth of the farming community, and add value to the product.
- Under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), the target for area expansion under Kamalam is 50,000 ha. in 5 years.
Some relevant facts and figures
|Plant Name||Kamalam or Dragon Fruit|
|Origin||Southern Mexico, Central America, South America|
|Popular Names||Pithaya, Pitaya, Pitaya Roja, Pithajah|
|Economic Value||Food products like juice, jam, jelly etc and health benefits such as boosting immune system, aiding digestion, also rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins.|
|Area of Cultivation||South-East Asia, India, USA, Caribbean, Australia|
|Total Cultivation Area in India||More than 3,000 ha|
|Kamalam Import in India||327 tonnes in 2017, 9,162 tonnes in 2019, 11,916 tonnes estimated for 2020, 15,491 tonnes estimated for 2021|
|Projected Import Value (2021)||Rs. 100 crores|
|Yield per Acre||10 tonnes|
|Market Rate||Rs. 100 per kg|
|Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)||2.58|
|MIDH Target for Kamalam||50,000 ha in 5 years|
|Life Expectancy of Crop||About 20 years|
|Centre of Excellence||Established by IIHR, Bengaluru on 09-03-2023|
|Centre of Excellence Focus||Production, post-harvest, value addition and research|
With the growing interest among farmers and the quick returns they are getting from cultivating Kamalam in agricultural and marginal lands, it is anticipated that Kamalam will expand to new regions and domestic farming will entirely replace imports. The establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Kamalam Fruit will help in achieving self-sustenance in Kamalam fruit production, value addition and enhancing economic development of the farming community.