Man becomes dragon fruit farmer with help of YouTube


By Baburam Karki, Barahkshetra, Sept. 18: After retirement, some enjoy staying at home and some start doing business. And some people also go for foreign employment. However, the retired inspector of Nepal Police of Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City-18 Dil Kumar Lama has started cultivating dragon fruit.

The 66-year-old Lama did not know anything about dragon fruit until two years ago. The informative videos of dragon fruit farming that he watched on YouTube during the lockdown of COVID-19 pandemic became an inspiration for him.

The video he watched at that time led him to commercial dragon fruit farming. He said that he started cultivating dragon fruit after getting information from YouTube.

He said, "People said that watching mobile phones will spoil people, but this is how I learned to cultivate it. We can also learn good things from mobile."

Lama has been cultivating dragon fruit commercially for a year by registering a farm named 'Laxmi Dragon Fruit Agriculture Firm'.

In the beginning, Lama started dragon fruit cultivation by installing 50 pillars in one kattha land in Dharan-16. After getting a good income from it, he has expanded the farm, he said.

He has invested around Rs. 700,000 in Dharan-6, Panbari and cultivated dragon fruit in an area of five and a half katthas of land.

The dragon fruit plants in his garden, which have been planted by bringing saplings from Kathmandu, are now thriving.

Currently, his daily life is spent in the supervision of dragon farming.

He said that he travels five kilometers every day to look after the dragon farm.

He said, "For me, this farm has become as much as a job. The family also helped me. During her college break, daughter Pasungamo Sherpa has also been helping in farming. I have been doing it myself from taking out weeds to spraying medicine. I found some problems in farming, so I opened YouTube and searched."

After opening an agricultural firm, we have to spend at least 75 per cent time in the firm and only can reap benefit from farming, he said.

"Working in agriculture will not make a person small, but it will be good if we will be known by everyone in the village community and will also have financial income," he said.

Lama is currently treating common dragon fruit diseases, insects and fungi with the use of YouTube.

"I have heard that the government also gives subsidies for training in agriculture, but so far I have not been able to receive any training. I have invested so much by learning from YouTube. YouTube is my teacher. If I could train about dragon fruit, I would know more about dragon fruit.”

As the state does not determine the price of every grain, fruit, milk, egg, meat produced by the farmers according to the cost, the new generations who came into agriculture business are leaving the occupation.

He said that if the goods produced by the farmers is exported to other countries after arranging the purchase by the state, the farmers would work diligently in the agricultural sector, and it would further contribute to the economic prosperity of the country.

The dragon fruit is a fruit that grows in hot and dry climates. The taste of this fruit is sweet and sour. The varieties of dragon fruits are red skin with white flesh, yellow skin with white flesh, and red skin with red flesh.

It is a perennial fruit that bears fruit within two years of planting. Recently, dragon fruit has been cultivated commercially in Nepal.  

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