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Pitaya (Selenicereus undatus) cultivation using lights

Cultivation of dragon fruit or white-fleshed pitaya or night-blooming Cereus (Selenicereus undatus) in Banyuwangi Regency, East Java, Indonesia, is widely spread in many places. Almost in every yard of residents' houses, roadsides and gardens these plants grow and this district is known as the dragon area.

What is interesting is the night when the twinkling light illuminates the gardens. The light comes from Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps that are installed above the plants. The light from the lamp helps the plant to flower and bear fruit outside of its natural season.

Dlium Pitaya (Selenicereus undatus) cultivation using lights


There are many success stories of farmers in Banyuwangi, but pitaya farming has many obstacles. Farmers also struggle with ups and downs in running a business. Excessive dragon fruit production causes prices to fall during the main harvest.

The normal price is Rp. 10,000 to Rp. 20,000 per kilogram, but during the main harvest, the average price is Rp. 1000 to Rp. 2000 per kilogram. The price drop was also due to the harvest period at the same time as the harvest of other competing fruits, including mangosteen, mango and duku.

On the other hand, April-September did not bear fruit and farmers had no income, even though demand continued to come throughout the year.

The farmers always wonder why the plants near the street lamps always flower and bear fruit outside of the harvest season, even though there are no flowers in the garden. They had the idea of using lamps installed in the garden. This method allows dragon fruit to bear fruit throughout the year and farmers can get high prices outside the harvest season.

S. undatus continues to flower if it gets light for 12 hours. Lamp light as a substitute for sunlight to flower out of season. This species bears fruit naturally in October-March because it gets a lot of sun, while in April-September it does not flower because it lacks sunlight.

Farmers tried to use lamps powered by diesel generators in early 2014. It is true that the light causes plants to flower outside of the harvest season.

The use of light helps the photosynthesis of the stems and causes flowers to appear between the thorns of the plant. Flowers are mated manually with pollen sprinkled onto the pistil to produce fruit. This innovation covers land preparation, seed preparation, planting, fertilization, maintenance, use of lamps, to harvesting.

The standard for installing electrical installations is for plants after 2 years and turned on outside the harvest season or April-September. They install 400-800 lamps with a power of 12-15 watts for 1 hectare. Light time is from 17.00 pm to 05.00 am.

The direct impact for farmers from using these lamps is that the harvest appears throughout the year, including high prices outside the harvest season. The productivity of dragon fruit land with an area of 1 hectare produces 14 tons per year without lights, while with the same area it can produce 26 tons using lights.

Total production in Banyuwangi before 2019 or before using lights was 19,068 tons from a land area of 1,362 hectares, while production after using lights was 82,544 tons from a land area of 2,608 hectares.

S. undatus agriculture has a wide impact on the community where 1 hectare of land can create jobs for 20 people with the tasks of planting, caring, and harvesting.

By Aryo Bandoro
Founder of Dlium.com

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