Cempadek, Durian, Mangosteen, Longan, Maprang, Jaboticaba, Pulasan, Santol and Abiu—these are names of some exotic fruits that are native to Southeast Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
However, you will find all these exotic fruits being cultivated across Homegrown Biotech’s 70-acre nursery, on the banks of the Manimalayar river in Vizhikkathod village, thanks to the dedicated efforts of three brothers who live in Kanjirappally, a town in the Kottayam district of Kerala.
The brothers, Jose Jacob and Renny, and their cousin, Jojo Joseph, started this venture by cultivating rambutan across a 23-acre patch in 1996. In fact, Homegrown Biotech is now being touted as India’s first ever farm that has successfully grown and supplied the exotic, fleshy fruit across India.
Hailing from the well-known ‘Kondooparampil’ family based in the town, farming came easily to the Jacob brothers as they belong to an agricultural family.
Today, over 32 exotic varieties of tropical fruit trees are grown and nurtured in the nursery. Homegrown Biotech does not just cultivate these fruits but has also engaged in their research, cultivation and development to acclimatise them, and ensure that they continue to grow and flourish in the Indian conditions. Even the soil for cultivating these plants is singularly sourced out to meet their nutritional needs.
According to Mathrubhumi, a local daily, an average of 5 lakh saplings are distributed from the nursery on a yearly basis.
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With the onset of summer, you might have already begun to find many exotic fruits like the dragon fruit, and rambutan in your neighbourhood supermarket, most of which are imported from the mother countries to India.
However, Jose spoke to The Economic Times about the changing scenario and how the number of exotic fruits growers is slowly rising in the state, as it is beginning to prove lucrative. “Kerala’s agriculture was dominated by cash crops. The transition to fruit farming is slowly happening, and the state has the potential to become the tropical fruit basket of the country,” says Jacob.
You can contact Homegrown Biotech here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)