How Dragon Fruit Thrived to Most Expensive Fruit

Dragon fruit. What do you know about this fruit that has lately gained prominence in the Kenyan market? Well overwhelming everyone with a new admiration, from buyers who attribute this to its nutrition values and strengthening of the immune system. The fruit derives its name from its unique appearance, where the spikes resemble fire and the scales resemble that of a dragon.

The dragon fruit scientifically referred to as Hylocereusundatus is mainly grown in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, the USA, and Vietnam. Hence its availability in Kenya is mainly from the imports into the country. However, with an increase in demand, some of the farmers have taken a step into venturing into this sector of producing it.

One of the farmers who ventured into dragon fruit farming Dr. Waiganjo Monica, says the fruit has numerous advantages from its richness in antioxidants, high in fiber, and fat-free plus it helps lower blood sugar levels and contains prebiotics that helps maintain a healthy gut.

Dragon fruit is safe to eat as it offers many health benefits due to its vitamin C and antioxidant properties additionally the fruit is low in calories, making it a perfect everyday snack. The fruit being scarcely planted within Kenya has had the demand heightening which means its prices are top notch too.

According to Dr. Waiganjo, a researcher and horticulture crop specialist who is now breeding seeds and selling them to interested farmers. Opts to call it a super fruit because of the benefits that it comes with, which prompted her to carry out more research and gather information on it after realizing its rising popularity in the country.

All these praises of the dragon fruit, which falls in the same class as the cactus, have it as the most expensive in the country at the moment, with a kilo going for between Sh1,000 and Sh3,000 in retail outlets, mainly because of a shortage and rising demand of 99 percent of the fruits come from South America.

How to Plant Dragon Fruit

Dr. Waiganjo has set up Sungreen Harvest Company, a company that delves into dealing with the propagation and selling of dragon fruit cuttings as well as offers advisory services to those who want to venture into this new crop and make as much as Sh2 million from an acre of farmland.

She reveals that Dragon fruit can be planted as a basic seed though it’s rare considering how expensive and rare they are.

Even though it is majorly grown using cuttings and this makes it cheaper after the first planting since a farmer can onwards get the cuttings from his or her plantation, making it a one-off expense.

One stem of a cutting, measuring about 30 inches goes for Sh500 with farmers requiring close to Sh800,000 for an acre of land.

The plant starts producing between the sixth to eighth month with continuous harvesting of up to 50 years. It starts giving maximum fruits after a year.

A dragon fruit plant

Additionally, the fruit has a huge merit as it is drought tolerant and it is not soil specific, considering that our soils are mostly acidic, these fruits can withstand that condition making them ideal to grow in most parts of the country.

Dragon Fruit Health Benefits

  • It’s rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acid, and betacyanin.
  • It’s naturally fat-free and high in fiber.
  • It may help lower your blood sugar.
  • It contains prebiotics, which are foods that feed the healthy bacteria called probiotics in your gut.
  • It can strengthen your immune system.

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