Due to its high export value, the exotic ‘dragon fruit’ has become increasingly popular in recent years

In a major boost to the export of exotic fruits, consignments of fiber & mineral rich ‘dragon fruit’ sourced from farmers of Gujarat & West Bengal have been shipped for the first time to London, United Kingdom & the Kingdom of Bahrain.

This comes barely two months after a consignment of ‘dragon fruit’ that was sourced from the farmers of Tadasar village, Sangli district, Maharashtra was exported to Dubai by an APEDA recognized exporter in June.

Providing details, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday said
the consignment of exotic fruit exported to London was sourced from farmers of the Kutch region. It was exported by an APEDA registered packhouse in Bharuch, Gujarat.

On the other hand, the consignment of ‘dragon fruit’ exported to Kingdom of Bahrain was sourced from the farmers of West Midnapore (West Bengal) and exported by APEDA registered enterprises in Kolkata, the ministry said.

Production of ‘dragon fruit’ commenced in India in the early 1990s and it was grown as home gardens.

Due to its high export value, the exotic ‘dragon fruit’ has become increasingly popular in recent years in the country and it has been taken up for cultivation by farmers in different states.

There are three main varieties of dragon fruit: white flesh with pink skin, red flesh with pink skin, and white flesh with yellow skin. However, the red and white flesh is typically being relished by the consumers.

Dragon fruit is grown mostly in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. West Bengal is new to taking up cultivation of this exotic fruit.

Scientifically referred to as Hylocereusundatus, the ‘dragon fruit’ is grown in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, the USA and Vietnam and these countries are the major competitors for Indian Dragon Fruit.

The cultivation of dragon fruit requires less water and can be grown in various kinds of soils. The fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It can help in repairing the cell damage caused by oxidative stress and reduce inflammation, and also improve the digestive system.

Since the fruit has spikes and petals resembling lotus, it is also referred to as ‘Kamalam’ in India.