Thursday, October 20, 2011

Field Mechanization of Dragon Fruit Planting

Large scale dragon fruit plantation in Malacca 

To plant dragon fruits in a large plantation ; there is no doubt mechanization is very  necessary. It is a very important tool to speed up management activities such as spraying of insecticide,weeding, fertilization and so on.However, what is the optimum  size of plantation that need to be considered before machines to be introduced? As machines are very expensive and needs to be  maintenance, careful decision has to be made so that the investment is profitable.Otherwise, you put unnecessary budget that would incur the return.
The size,type and power of the machines have to sought from experts or experience person in order to buy the correct tool. We cannot just  copy or buy from hearsay  what machines are needed. Think twice.
Using boom sprayer to spray foliar fertilizer, insectides and fungicides

Dr.Zainudin inspecting dragon fruit plantation

Horticulture Research Centre Director Tengku Malik explaining something to visitors.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

National Horticulture Conference 2011

The Malaysian National Horticulture Conference (NHC) will be held from 18th to 20th October 2011 in Melaka; 150 km from Kuala Lumpur. This the 3rd NHC so far. See here for more info The three-day conference will discuss matters in horticulture industry in Malaysia with the theme Malaysian Horticulture:Enhancing Production,Enhancing Marketing.Many speakers will be invited  to give talks and views on horticulture. A post-tour conference is to held to dragon fruits farm in Melaka.
I will be presenting a poster entitles "Dragon fruits planting materials:Specifications according to SIRIM". See below

Poster at NHC 2011, 18 to 20 October 2011, Melaka

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Growing Dragon Fruits in India

I had the chance to visit India.Visiting India is not as easy as I thought.You have to get a visa before entering the country. It is exciting for me as this is my first visit there.
I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Chennai which took about  three and half hours. It was raining when I reached there at 10 pm local time. At Chennai Airport  I have to go at least one hour and half for immigration clearance compared to  KLIA for only two minutes.
I have to book hotel in Chennai before departure and it is compulsory.The hotel (3 star) was OK but very expensive RM450 per night (USD150).Mind you.
The next morning we drove to Thirupati via Redhills and  Thiruvallur, passing villages and small towns. I saw a lot of poverty in Southern India where pupils could be seen without shoes to schools, cramped in vehicles and so on. Most of the vehicles had air horns-horning is a must. Unlike, in Malaysia the pupils owned at least 3-4 pairs of shoes per year and transporation is easy.
Roughly, I could see paddy fields, mangoes and  sugar planting areas. Some of the areas were abundant which were not cultivated. As I reached the small town, it was very crowded due to only two-way lane. Shop-lots were very small and not organised.  I saw a lot cattle  lying on the roads with dungs uncleaned. At last I reached Thirupati the capital city of Andra Pradesh.

This city is very big and quite clean compared to Chennai. I saw  agriculture research station, universities and big temples here. I was told the the Tamils always come here to worship and bald their heads.

The climate in Thirupati was a little bit cooler and sunnier. The soil was fertile and it was grown with peanuts before. My mission is to see whether the climate and soil is suitable for dragon fruits growing there in Andra Pradesh. From my observation, dragon fruits is very suitable to be grown there basically the soil is good and not waterlogged. If dought occurs, water could be tapped from groundwater. Also, there was a lot of organic matter from cowdungs.Labour is readily available and there are many areas potentially to be grown. I was told that mangoes price was 20 INR (RM1.40).per kg. and much of the mango areas were not looked properly. Mangoes was not  flowering at that time and fruiting once a year compared to dragon fruits which is flowering  and fruiting all year round.
I could conclude that;
1. Introduction of dragon fruits to India is very potential and profitable business IF provide with good management.
2.Consumers always like to try new exotic fruits particularly if they know medicinal value.
3.Dragon fruits could  bear fruits  very early - one year after planting.
4.The climate is suitable, organic fertilizer, labour is available.
5.Market demand is very huge.

More readings (in Malay version ) at

Some of the pics from my visit. If there are any queries I am happy to entertain ; pls forward your email to  or simply call me at +060123535411.

Mr.Ali showing me the area to be planted with dragon fruits.

Workers in preparation  of concrete poles for fencing

Clay mineral soil suitable for dragon fruits.

Self-made concrete pole

Behind-some of the fruits like papaya, watermelons, sold  in the supermarket