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TelanganaBhadradri KothagudemTechie from Kothagudem takes to dragon fruit cultivation, inspires many

Techie from Kothagudem takes to dragon fruit cultivation, inspires many

Published: 11th Oct 2021 12:39 am

Sarapaka: Desire of his parents to taste the exotic dragon fruit motivated a techie to take up cultivation of the fruit and it has made him a source of inspiration for many here.

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Mohammed Abdul Maqbool, a post graduate in MSc (IT), who was working as a project manager in Jakarta of Indonesia since 2011, had to return to India due to the Covid-19 pandemic in December 2020 and was working from home at his native village Sarapaka of Burgampahad mandal in the district.

While working from home, he thought of doing something productive in the agriculture field of his father, Mohammed Mazeed, a retired ITC employee, at Sanjeeva Reddy Palem village in the mandal.

Instead of taking up conventional crops, the techie decided to cultivate organic dragon fruit orchard on two acres of land and the decision in this regard had a reason.

“The reason is, my parents once visited me in Indonesia and tasted dragon fruit juice at a restaurant there and loved its sweet and creamy texture. My father wanted to know more about the fruit and asked me to do some research on it. I remembered my father’s interest in the fruit and hence decided to cultivate it using trellis wiring system,” Maqbool told Telangana Today.

“My experiences in learning about dragon fruit cultivation from various online sources and my personal visits to dragon fruit farms in Indonesia and interactions with farmers helped me gain some knowledge,” he said.

We tested the soil in the field and the report was positive, he said, and added that he procured around 3,500 saplings from Andhra Pradesh and Kutch in Gujarat and planted the, in two acres.

“But embarking on the project was not any easy task as none of us had experience in agriculture and we faced a lot of hurdles. One big challenge was the source of water. Majority of local farmers who sunk borewells failed to get water in the past. But we were lucky as a borewell in our field yielded water,” he said.

Due to several reasons, Maqbool couldn’t get electricity connection and they were forced to water the orchard with the help of water tankers initially. “It was then that we decided to install a solar power system investing Rs 2 lakh to run the bore well,” he says.

So far an investment of Rs 14 lakh has been made on the project and all through my journey, the support of my family and my younger brother, Mohammed Abdul Fareed, a senior tax manager in an IT company in Hyderabad, has been immense, Maqbool noted.

The trellis wiring system which we used ensures proper oxygen supply to the crop and we may get a high yield of 10 to 15 tonnes from third year onwards and the crop gives yield for 20 years. Because of the organic and better crop management techniques, the plants have already flowered and are bearing around 500 fruits, which may weigh around 200 kgs, he added.

Both the brothers are now planning to create awareness among other farmers in the agency area about organic dragon fruit farming by sharing their experiences with those who are interested in growing the fruit.

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