Dragon Fruit for Development

 

 

 

The families on the slopes of the Telica volcano where Nuevas Esperanzas works have traditionally survived on income from the bean and corn harvests. However, these areas are very vulnerable to the threats of drought, hurricanes and volcanic gases and eruptions, all of which are part of life in Nicaragua. Over the last eight years Nuevas Esperanzas has been working with the farmers to promote crop diversification to find alternative sources of income. This included establishing model farms to trial alternative crops which have proved more resistant including pineapple and dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit has proved to be the most successful introduction to the crops grown in the hillside communities. This amazing bright pink fruit is not only delicious (especially in smoothies!) but is also resistant to very inhospitable growing conditions. Over the last few years farmers who decided to work with dragon fruit have seen their crops flourish. More families are now keen to develop their own family farms with dragon fruit in order to secure a new source of income.

It takes five years for the shoots first planted to develop to their full potential, at which point, farmers can expect a minimum of three harvests per year. With careful, timely application of fertilisers which promote growth, the first harvest can be increased. As well as offering up to five harvests a year, this means that the farmers have more fruit to sell in the market early in the harvest season when the prices are higher.

There are now 44 families growing dragon fruit across three of the hillside communities. Nuevas Esperanzas hopes to raise £5,000 / $6,000 in order to help five more families plant dragon fruit at the start of the rainy season. These funds will also enable us to provide fertilisers and technical support to the families now into their fourth year of growing dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit not only looks magical with its shape and colour but almost has magical properties. It will improve a family’s resistance, making them less vulnerable to the challenges of life on the slopes of the Telica volcano. It will offer an additional source of income and is also a more environmentally friendly crop.

Please help us enable more families to benefit from this amazing crop.

 

 

 

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