A dragon fruit tree can bear fruit for up to 25 years
Dragon fruit is being commercially farmed in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district, after the successful cultivation of rambutan and malta.
For the first time in Bangladesh, dragon fruit is commercially being cultivated in a large area of land.
Shibpur UP Chairman Ariful Islam Mridha is commercially farming dragon fruits on 2.8 acres of land, which has over 3,000 saplings.
A dragon fruit tree can bear fruit for up to 25 years. It is possible to earn Tk15,000 every year from each.
The garden is located in the Pubergaon village of Chakradha union. The saplings, planted in September, 2017, currently bears flowers.
Local agricultural officers said Narsingdi’s weather and soil is perfect for farming dragon fruit and there is a great possibility of gaining success by cultivating the fruit in the district.
Shibpur UP Chairman Ariful said he collected the saplings from National Nutrition Program and Natore Horticulture Centre.
He spent around Tk50 lakh on the garden, of which half was spent on the wages of the labourers. Three types of dragon fruit saplings have been planted in the garden, including red and white types.
He said: “Although the initial set-up was rather expensive, it does not cost much to maintain the garden. The plants bear fruit within seven to eight months.
“If each fruit weighs over 500 grams, then we can sell them for Tk500 per kilogram. But if each fruit weighs less than 500 grams, then we sell it for Tk400.”
According agricultural department officials, usually dragon fruit plants do not bear fruit before a year but in Mridha’s garden, the plants are already bearing flowers. They are hoping for a satisfactory yield.
Ariful said: “The local people are very interested in the garden. People come to visit it every day and want to know about the costs and planting methods. If be become successful this it, we have plans of expanding the garden.”
Regarding his motivation behind cultivating dragon fruit, he said: “Agriculture is a large part of the economy in our country.
“These days, a lot of youths are unemployed. They feel ashamed to do agricultural work. If any unemployed person gets inspired by my efforts and wants to be involved in cultivating dragon fruits, then I will consider my endeavour truly successful.”
“I want to spend my life doing agricultural work. That is why I am devoting my time to this,” he added.
Deputy Director of the Agriculture Extension Directorate Lotafat Hossain said: “The UP chairman’s endeavour surely deserves much praise. The weather and soil in this area is suited for dragon fruit cultivation.
“Many people are getting inspired by him. We are advising interested people on matters of cultivation. ”