Couple grows dragon fruit on rocky land in organic way; gets incredible yield
Vadakkancherry (Palakkad): Cheekode native Antony Joseph and wife Rosamma are determined to work hard when it comes to farming. At 70, Antony keeps himself busy and active by engaging in agriculture. Their latest experiment is with dragon fruit, a popular foreign fruit. The couple successfully cultivated it on a rocky land near their house.
Saplings of dragon fruit were collected from a friend 3 years ago. 120 saplings were planted in 60 flowerbeds. The couple harvested upto 10-15 kilograms of fruits from a single flowerbed this year. Due to high demand in city, dragon fruit fetches about Rs 300-450 per kilogram. However, Antony sold it for Rs 170 per kilogram to an organic stall under Vadakkancherry Krishi Bhavan.
The couple intends to introduce the foreign fruit in the village area. Antony said that taking care of the plants is easier than we think. Five-feet tall concrete pillars are fixed on ground and flowerbed is made at the bottom of it. A medium-sized old tyre is placed on top of the pillar. The plants gradually spread through the tyre. The plant should be pruned regularly to ensure growth.
As dragon fruit plant has thorns, they are not eaten by animals. Cow dung, chicken manure, goat manure and bone meal can be provided as fertilizer once in two months. Plants should be watered twice a week during summer. Antony depends on drip irrigation method for this. Fruits can be harvested from one plant for upto 20 years. He also sells dragon fruit saplings at Rs 100.
Antony is planning to cultivate dragon fruit, tamarind and jackfruit tree in a 5-acre rubber plantation soon. Earlier, he had experimented with high-density plantain farming. He worked in private sector in other states and abroad for over 50 years and returned in 2014. Since then, he has been into farming. He also grows vegetables, rambutan, rose apple, avocado, guava, soursop and other crops.