DHARMAPURI: With summer intensifying, people have turned to the water apple to beat the heat. The exotic fruit has garnered much attention, and has made farmers happy. Water apples, also known as wax apples or rosy apples, are cultivated by only a handful of farmers in Pennagaram. With the increase in demand, the fruit is being sold between `50 - 70 per kg.
A Saravanan (39), a farmer, said, "It is not commonly grown and is rare in Dharmapuri. I initially cultivated a few trees for personal use, but found the tree does not need much care. So I planted over 100 trees on my three-acre land. Each tree provided up to 50 kg of fruit. The trees do not require much water or pesticide."
K Narayana, a fruit vendor near Sowlur, said, "Usually water apples are sold for `20 - 25. But this year, the demand is high and the price has shot up to `50 per kg (green variety) and `70 per kg ( rosy variety). While there is huge demand, the supply. is less."
Murugesan a vendor from Dharmapuri said, "Farmers lack awareness on such fruits which are extremely profitable. The yield can be harvested thrice a year. As there are no government schemes in the horticulture department to motivate farmers or promote such fruit trees, many are not aware of this. These kinds of fruits are apt for cultivation in Dharmapuri."
Deputy Director of Horticulture, G Malini said, "There are very few farmers who undertake cultivation of water apple. The horticulture department is willing to extend any help to farmers in the improvement of such rare fruits through the government scheme. Interested farmers could also approach the department for cultivation tips."
Commenting on the health benefits of water apples she said, "These fruits are rich in Vitamin C, improve metabolism, hydrate the body and aid digestion. As the fruit has over 90% water content it is extremely revitalizing during the harsh summer."