Kerala to support farming of jamun, dragon fruit

Desi fruit Njaval, or jamun as it is called in many parts of India, and the flashy-looking dragon fruit which is native to the Americas are among ten indigenous and exotic fruits whose cultivation is being actively promoted by the State Horticulture Mission (SHM) this year.

This is the first time that the Njaval (Syzygium cumini) has found a place on the mission’s list of fruit trees/plants whose cultivation would be supported under the Centrally assisted Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) of the National Horticulture Mission (NHM).

Though ‘Njaval pazham’ is a familiar fruit which evokes sweet nostalgia for Keralites, farmers here have not explored its commercial possibilities to any great extent. Even today one would be hard-pressed to find this oblong, shiny-black, sour-sweet fruit, which leaves a purplish stain on the tongue, on sale in most fruit shops.

Health benefits

That said, its reported health benefits have been pushing it up the popularity charts. So much so that it is now a common sight in cities such as Thiruvananthapuram to see push-carts laden with jamuns from other south Indian States with price tags of ₹300 or more a kilogram.

“The State Horticulture Mission was asked to explore the scope of indigenous and exotic fruit plants which could be included under the MIDH component ‘Area Expansion of Fruit Plants’ this year. We have included 10, including Njaval, which are suitable for cultivation in Kerala,” Sreekala S., Deputy Director, SHM, told The Hindu.

Those on the list

The full list has mango, jackfruit, avocado, rambutan, passion fruit, mangosteen, gooseberry, Malabar tamarind (Garcinia cambogia, Kudampuli in Malayalam), jamun, and the dragon fruit. The assistance covers 1,310 hectares with a combined outlay of ₹2.35 crore (Central + State share) for all the fruits on this list except dragon fruit.

As in other parts of India, the dragon fruit has won many fans among fruit growers in Kerala in recent years. Under the MIDH component, the coverage of assistance is for a total of 250 hectares with an outlay of ₹75 lakh.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 5:28:15 AM |

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