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 http://zainudinhajimeon.blogspot.com/
Some of the pics from my visit. If there are any queries I am happy to entertain ; pls forward your email to email@example.com 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|