Ahmedabad, Jul 2 In a big push for the horticulture farmers looking to venture into dragon fruits (Kamalam as named in Gujarat) cultivation, the Gujarat Government on Friday announced a financial assistance scheme with total provisioning of upto ₹10 crore.
The scheme offers financial assistance of upto ₹3 lakh per hectare to a farmer from the general community, whereas farmers belonging to scheduled caste or scheduled tribes will be eligible to get financial assistance of ₹4.5 lakh per hectare.
Known as pitahaya or strawberry pear in different parts of the world, dragon fruit is rich in nutritional content and sells at ₹100-150 a piece in retail markets in Gujarat cities. Horticulture farmers from Kutch district had turned to cultivation of dragon fruit and made several success stories.
P M Vaghasiya, Director of Horticulture, Government of Gujarat informed that the fruit which was renamed as Kamalam in 2021 was cultivated in Kutch and parts of Surendranagar districts in the State.
“The scheme is brought to encourage more farmers to venture into cultivation of Kamalam fruit. We expect that this scheme will help increase the area under Kamalam fruit from about 300 hectares at present,” Vaghasiya told Businessline.
Further, the state government has also offerred financial assistance for comprehensive horticulture development. For this purpose, farmers, Farmer Producer Organisations or companies and registered trust would get financial assistance of upto ₹50 lakh for the on-field upgradation such as mechanisation of farms, horticulture infrastructure, irrigation, plastic covering etc. The total provisioning for this is ₹6.5 crore.
“As we incentivise the cultivation of kamalam-dragon fruit, we hope that it will bring down the import dependence for the fruit. The financial assistance at the initial stage will help farmers reap benefits by tapping the export prospects too,” said Raghavji Patel, agriculture minister, government of Gujarat. He added that the qualified farmers will get the assistance directly in their bank account through the DBT.
In January 2021, Gujarat government had renamed dragon fruit as ‘Kamalam’ (after the Sanskrit word for lotus) as the fruit reportedly resembled a lotus. The decision came after Kutch’s farmers had suggested the state government to rename dragon fruit as Kamalam.
The farmers connected with dragon fruit production have witnessed remarkable financial transformation. The State government, hence decided to pursue the Prime Minister’s call to double farmers’ income by incentivising dragon fruit cultivation in the State.
Apart from Gujarat, dragon fruit is also cultivated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
July 02, 2022