Dragon Fruit also referred to as Pitaya. Pitaya is used in many countries to describe the yellow skinned selections. Hylocereus undatus (the white-fleshed fruit) is a species of Cactaceae and is the most cultivated of that genus. Like all true cacti, the genus originates in the America’s and was first planted commercially in Central and South America.
These broad-leafed cactus-type vines, are cultivated in sub-tropicaland tropical regions throughout the world particularly for its health attributes.
Dragon Fruit plants flourish in warm to hot areas with good rainfall and in highly organic or composted soils. In most cases frost will kill the plants. The plants are fast growing epiphytes and flower up to 5 times throughout summer and autumn.
Commercial plantings are found in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Northern Australia, Philippines, Sri-Lanka, Hawaii, Israel, Cambodia, Taiwan and Cyprus and Southern China, and in various countries in Central and South America and more recently in the US.
To date less than 50ha of Pitaya orchards have been established in South Africa, many of these plantings are not of the sweet cultivars. Older plants can be top-worked to the new selections. Many of the varieties are not always sweet to taste.
Amorentia propagates a selection of plants which have more recently been imported. These are a new generation of deliciously Sweet, red, pink and white fleshed.
Amorentia plants are free of all visible signs of Xanthomonas campestris, and are available in large numbers for commercial plantings on an exclusive basis to carefully screened growers.
The fruits are oval in shape with a leathery-pack of soft, pink, skin with fleshy leaf-like posterior projections bounded by greenish margins. They do perhaps look a bit like the scales on a Dragon.
The flesh is either white or reddish to deep pink with minute black seed-specs. The red varieties are often more of a psychedelic Burgundy-Red to Cerise-Pink. These deep colours are rather unbelievable for a fruit but are most inviting.
This remarkable, sweet fruit has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure, strengthen bones and teeth and promote healthy blood and tissue formation, strengthen the immune system, heal bruises and wounds faster and help with respiratory problems.
Dragon Fruits are truly one of the homes of the beauty industry.
They are said to prevent constipation, promote eye health, increase bone density, help in the formation of cell membranes and the prevention of anaemia and anti-neuritis, angular cheilitis, lowering cholesterol and most interesting of all, it is also said to help treat diabetes.
Pitaya contains certain beneficial vitamins and minerals. The fruit is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, polyunsaturated fatty acids, carotene, protein, calcium, iron and phosphorus.
One study showed that Dragon Fruit had a notable impact on oxidative stress and aortic stiffness in diabetic rats, suggesting the fruit may be beneficial in preventing complications associated with diabetes. The same study indicates the regular consumption may lower the risks of developing heart disease and developing high blood pressure.
Pitaya is known to be high in antioxidants. Present findings show that regular consumption of the fruit reduces weight considerably, creating a well-balanced body, without compromising other individual health matters. The seeds contain omega-3 fats. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can fight inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Resulting from its nutritional make up, including antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre.
It is an extraordinary beauty-enhancing fruit!
Pitaya are planted under ultra-high density orchard conditions. They are planted in rows with plant populations which vary from 1100 to 1350 plants per hectare. 2.5 x 5m or 2.5 x 4m apart on single reinforced concrete posts. Or on a T-bar trellising system similar to that used for Kiwi Fruit.
Each plant is trained up a single post or precast concrete post protruding 1.8m out of the ground. Attached to the top of the support post is a steel cross-brace mounted inside an old car or motorbike tire, through which the production laterals or branches are trained to spread out and then hang down towards the ground.
It is on these laterals that the flowers and fruit set occurs. Under Southern African growing conditions, The plants must be established under irrigation.
The plants are relatively easy to grow but establishment costs per ha are high. Under good growing conditions and with the right planting material, the plants will yield their first fruit at two years old and be in full production by year 5. Yields per ha range from 20 – 30 tons per ha under variable conditions.
For commercial farming the life expectancy for a Pitaya plant is 20 years. With the tremendous variability of selections and the consequential taste of Dragon Fruit in South Africa, together with older selections not being naturally-pollination , great care must be taken to source the right naturally-pollination selections which produce sweet fruits.
All the named selections supplied by Amorentia are naturally-pollination, sweet varieties or cultivars. A proportion of the licencing payments for Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit cultivar selections will be pooled and dedicated to the marketing and promotion of the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit branded varieties. Become a lover of Dragon Fruit. They are healthy sweet and deliciously exotic, decorative and real conversation fruit.
Pitaya prefer a dryer sub-tropical (to tropical) climate. Dragon Fruit will grow well in climates where Macadamia nuts, Avocados and Bananas are grown commercially.
Pitaya rainfall requirements are 600 to 1300mm per annum with supplementary irrigation in the dry seasons.
Dragon Fruit require less irrigation than Macadamias and Avocados. It is interesting to note that with the severe drought in Southern California, farmers are replacing Avocados with Dragon Fruit. It is estimated that they require only 65% of the water and rain that Avos do.
Good temperatures are 21-29°C, but they can withstand maximum temperatures of 38-41°C and as low as -1°C for short periods.
Cost of the 1st 1ha of a particular, Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit, TM selection is R50 000,00.
R10 000 is transferred to the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Marketing Company.
R40 000 includes all planting material, exclusive access to all cultivars and new flesh colours together with all planting, cultivation, production and trellising IP on an ongoing basis. It includes access to the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Grower’s Manual and usage of the information generated by a research biologist who employed by the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Marketing Company.
Cost of 2nd ha and all subsequent 1ha developments, (or any part thereof) of a particular Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit TM selection is R14,800,00.
R 4, 800 is paid as a royalty payment (12% of the original price of the plants which was R40,000 for the 1st ha) to Amorentia Nursery. The 2nd ha is developed from cuttings taken by the Grower from the plants originally bought from Amorentia for the first ha as in A) above. Prior written authorization will be issued by Amorentia Nursery to each registered grower for their 2nd HA. (Purely for administrate purposes)
R 10, 000 is payable to the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Marketing Company within 18 months of that planting.
Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit Marketing Company (MC) is structured as follows:
4000 authorised shares will be issued in 2 phases
Phase I: 2000 to be issued
Phase II: 2000 to be issued
For every 1ha purchased 2 shares are issued in the MC as follows:
1 Share to the grower
1 Share to Amorentia Estate
Growers appoint 3 Directors
Amorentia Estate appoint 3 Directors
At all times grower’s group and Amorentia Estate remain 50/50 Shareholders in the MC
The revolving Chairman, who is elected by the 3 grower directors, retains a casting vote, in the decision-making process.
The Marketing company’s role is to develop marketing opportunities locally and aboard and to advise its shareholder grower members.
Of the R50 000,00 or R14 800,00 paid by the grower as a licensing or royalty fee, R10 000,00 will be deposited into the Marketing Company (MC) account.
Promotions – Advertorials
Research and Development (RND)
All Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit will be marketed and sold under the Amorentia Sweet Dragon Fruit brand.
All fruit sold will be levied @ 5% of net selling price.
All levies are paid to the Marketing Company (MC).
Distributable dividends from the MC are paid out to the Shareholders.
Such payments authorized by the Directors of the MC.