A doctor by profession, Srinivasa Rao Madhavaram of Hyderabad grew up observing his grandfather and father toil in the fields. Since then, he has harboured a dream of venturing into farming someday.

In 2016, his life took a significant turn when he tasted dragon fruit for the first time. He discovered that these exotic fruits were mainly imported from various countries and were rarely grown in India.

“When I tasted it for the first time, it didn’t taste good. Besides, it was very expensive. Later, I realised that it tasted bland because these fruits were imported from Vietnam and were kept for longer periods, thus losing their freshness,” he says.

“This made me reflect upon why it can’t be grown here in India,” adds the doctor.

Understanding the market gap for exotic dragon fruits, he decided to step into cultivating them organically.

He travelled to around 13 countries including Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines to master the art of growing dragon fruits.

Returning to his hometown in 2017, Dr Srinivasa began applying the knowledge he gained from his travels to his farmland in Sangareddy.

He developed quality saplings in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) Tumkur and planted them on his farm, Deccan Exotics.

“A single dragon fruit plant may yield fruits for up to 20 years and requires very little maintenance,” he says.

Currently, he grows over 45 varieties of dragon fruits on his 47-acre farm in Sangareddy in Telangana. Not just that, he has also trained over 6,500 farmers for free.

Currently, the annual turnover of Deccan Exotics is around Rs 2.2 crore.