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How to Grow Dragon Fruit: Know the Dos and Don’ts of Fruit Cultivation

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Satnam Singh at the Farm
Satnam Singh at the Farm

Satnam Singh Aulakh is an organic farmer from Thuliwal village of Barnala district in Punjab. He was recently interviewed by Mousmi Bhatt. He said that he is into organic farming and grows wheat (kanak), rice (chona), sandalwood and dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is nutrients rich and is currently trending in the market. He has a farm of this fruit over an acre of land. He claimed that he always gets good price for these fruits.

Shares his Inspiration and Experience 

Mousmi asked Satnam what inspired him to grow these fruits, he replied that the ground water level in his region is going down and dragon fruit plants don't need much water for irrigation. It's a good quality fruit and fetches good price and is known as a water saving crop.

When asked about how long he has been in farming, particularly in dragon fruit farming. Satnam told that he started four years ago, with 1 kanal then increased to 1 and a half kanal, now he farms his dragon fruit over 1 and a quarter of acre of land. He grows other crops like bansi wheat, sona moti wheat, mustard which he grows organically and sells locally. His sandalwood trees will give results in 15-20 years time. 

Dragon Fruits Farm
Dragon Fruits Farm

Selling Dragon Fruits

He sells his dragon fruit at Rs 250 per kilogram, at wholesale while in the market you will get these for over Rs 300. He is able to sell all of his fruits locally and quickly in Barnal. The fruit selling traders collect his fruits directly from him. Some local customers too buy from him and they buy it from him at wholesale price, which is cheaper than market price, whether they buy 1 Kg or 5 Kgs. He is doing this for advertisement purposes so that more people learn about dragon fruits. 

When asked if he has access to mandi or other selling platforms he replied that he doesn't need access to these as everything is bought directly from him. For his future plans, he said he wants to continue with horticulture, to escape the cycle of growing wheat (kanak). He is planning to increase the size of his dragon fruit farm as he feels its a good crop. He doesn't have any formal training and has leant everything practically through experience of 4-5 years. What nutrition value is to be added to the soil so that the plants are healthy, how much water is needed for irrigation, he has progressed by learning through the results that he is getting. 

Dragon Fruit Tree with support structure
Dragon Fruit Tree with support structure

Easy to Farm

Mousmi asked Satnam if he faced any difficulties initially, he replied that he didn't. He said with new varieties we are not sure how the crops are going to react. They type and amount of fertilizers that are required, the diseases that the crops may get affected by and the sprays that one needs are all to be learnt. Slowly he learnt about how to combat these difficulties and all we need to do is take proper care of the crops and look after them well. He repeated that he faced no problems.

Dos and Don’ts in dragon fruit farming

We asked Satnam if he had any suggestions for those interested in growing dragon fruits, the dos and don’ts for growing these. He said the most important aspect is the land you work on, your soil must be of the right quality, so you don't need to irrigate often. The soil must be strong and heavy, he continued. You will never be able to grow dragon fruits on sandy soil. Some videos online suggest that you can grow these fruits on sandy soil but it's not true. Then you need to focus on irrigation which is required in limited quantity. Farming dragon fruits does not require much effort.

When asked how potential customers can contact him, he replied that he is mostly contacted over phone, and he has his details on the "Apni Kheti" app. He said those interested can meet him at Thuliwal village. His said he focused on a number of varieties and finally shortlisted the red sweet variety, as it grows well in Punjab and fetches good price. He suggested to his fellow dragon fruit growers to raise red variety and not white variety as it’s like by all whether young or old. It's a delicious fruit.

He was also asked about the qualities and benefits of these fruits and he said that its good for the skin and for the strength of the bones. It works magic against dengue by increasing platelet count. It fights fever and other diseases he said. 

A message to other farmers

He said that start farming on small scale, as growing dragon fruits is an expensive project, as the seeds and hardware cost a lot and you need the setup for drip irrigation. You will need to perform fertilization. You can set up beds and irrigate them in one go, but drips are better for water conservation. Small farmers may start on a kanal, bigger farmers can start with an acre. We requested him to show us his farm, which he did, it was wonderfully arranged with all arrangements for growing the fruits. He said flowering starts in June and by 15th July the fruits will be ready, and this continues till December. Click here to see the video.

Satnam Singh Aulakh

Satnam Singh Aulakh

Barnala, Punjab

Organic Dragon Fruit

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