Recently, the Union Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare approved a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Dragon Fruit (Kamalam Fruit) to be established by the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, Karnataka.
About Dragon Fruit:
Dragon Fruit is a herbaceous perennial climbing cactus widely known as Pitaya, has its origin in Southern Mexico, Central America and South America.
Its flowers are hermaphrodites (male and female organs in the same flower) in nature and open at night.
It grows in all kinds of soil and does not require much water.
The plant sustains yield for more than 20 years, is high in nutraceutical properties(medicinal effects) and good for value-added processing industries.
It is widely cultivated in South-East Asia, India, the USA, The Caribbean Islands, and Australia throughout the tropical and sub-tropical world.
The world’s largest producer and exporter of dragon fruit is Vietnam, where the plant was brought by the French in the 19th century.
In India, the cultivation of Kamalam Fruit is done in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Mizoram and Nagaland.
In this endeavor under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a roadmap is being prepared for the cultivation of this crop.
Key facts about the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) Mission
It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root & tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo.
Under MIDH, the Government of India (GOI) contributes 60%, of the total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in the North East and the Himalayas, and 40% share is contributed by State Governments.
In the case of North Eastern States and Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.
In the case of the National Horticulture Board (NHB), Coconut Development Board (CDB), Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH), Nagaland and the National Level Agencies (NLA), GOI contributes 100%