Chinese technology bolsters Pakistan’s dragon fruit growth
LAHORE, Nov. 15 (Gwadar Pro) - “Pakistan has the natural advantage of growing dragon fruit. By promoting dragon fruit cultivation to Pakistani farmers, providing Chinese high-quality dragon fruit seedlings and its scientific management and planting technology, it is expected to turn dragon fruit into a new foreign exchange fruit with high commercial potential in Pakistan,” highlighted Shan Ailin, owner of Tiantian Farm in a recent interview with Gwadar Pro.
Dragon fruit tastes delicious and has high nutritional value. It is a green and eco-friendly fruit with certain curative effects. According to the research and observation of Dr. Asif Javed, an expert who has been promoting the growth of dragon fruit in Pakistan for the last five years, dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that is well suited to Pakistan’s tropical and subtropical climate.
Prior to its local production, the dragon fruit which was available in Pakistan was imported from Vietnam, Thailand and other countries. Half-ripe fruits are cut to extend their shelf life, greatly affecting the flavor and nutritional value. High transportation costs have made this “super fruit” difficult to reach for Pakistanis. Dr. Asif Javed believes dragon fruit is a cash crop and the increasing operations in Pakistan could make it more profitable. “We supply these plants to farmers and amateur growers throughout Pakistan and also cover the transportation costs,” claimed him.
Dragon fruit cultivated in Pakistan
Dragon fruit cultivation in Pakistan is a long-cycle, high-investment facility agriculture. Commenting on the difficulties of growing dragon fruit in Pakistan, Mr. Shan said that there were no new good varieties in the market, and it was relatively difficult to improve them. “Lack of sophisticated planting techniques can cause great losses. In addition, some disease prevention drugs and fertilizers for dragon fruit are not available in Pakistan and have to be imported from China. It is also necessary to equip Pakistan management staff to localize the project,” added him.
This year is also the fifth year that Shan has grown the Chinese mainstream varieties of dragon fruit in Pakistan. Since 2018, with the support of dragon fruit professional teams from Hainan, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces where dragon fruit is grown extensively in China, the farm has cultivated new varieties of dragon fruit suitable for Pakistan’s climatic conditions, and summarized the management methods and technical standards suitable for Pakistan’s local conditions. Currently, there are 1-2 Chinese dragon fruit cultivation technicians who are responsible for the daily management at the farm.
Together with Chinese experts, China’s mature experience in dragon fruit cultivation has come to Pakistan. Wang, a Chinese technician at the farm, explained that in terms of fertilizer and water management, they have fully learned from Chinese management methods, using drip irrigation and spraying, paying attention to soil improvement and giving full play to the beneficial role of microorganisms. Fruit trees are pruned regularly to form a system.
Dragon fruit garden in Pakistan
The annual production of Shan’s dragon fruit garden this year is about 100 tons, with a planting area of 25 acres. “100 acres are planned to be added between the second half of 2022 and the end of 2023, with a total production capacity of about 350 tons. At present, we can provide local farmers 500,000 seedlings per month, and after May 2023, we can provide more than 5 million seedlings per month.” Shan said optimistically.
Currently, Shan’s main sales channels include supermarkets, online sales, chain fruit stores and high-end hotels. He is planning to set up distribution warehouses and stores in major cities next year. “The Pakistani government has been promoting dragon fruit cultivation among local farmers for several years. We hope to export in 3-5 years with government support,” he concluded.