Anil Balanjaas Exotic Fruit Farm
This farmer from Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district has been collecting a variety of foreign fruits from across the world for the past 20 years. Meet Anil Balanja. He has planted over 750 varieties of fruit plants on 30 acres of land and collected them across 40 countries in the world in the last two decades.
Anil started his journey in the field of agriculture at the age of 19. He grows arecanut and coconut for his livelihood. The plant collections are from Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Brazil to name a few.
Then again, growing fruit plants also need patience, as plants from some seeds may take up to 8-15 years to start yielding. Some grafted varieties start yielding in 2-3 years.
What are the fruits grown in this Exotic Fruit Farm?
The first foreign fruit Balanja had harvested on his farm was the Rollinia deliciosa (also known as biriba) from Brazil. This fruit is part of the Seethaphal family. He’s saying that he was the first one to harvest cempedak (Malaysian fruit) in India many years ago. Balanja also recently harvested the Indonesian fruit called Blue Java banana.
Challenges faced in Exotic Fruit Farm
According to Anil Balanja – “We get disease in plants from June to August due to heavy rain, which leads to the problems like nematodes and fungus. Fruit flies when they mature, and Stem-borer is another problem.”
One such fruit is a tiny sweet and sour red-colored berry. After taking a bite of this, place a piece of lemon in your mouth. Alas, the lemon tastes sweet! So, is the lemon itself sweet or is it because of the fruit you ate first? Yes, and in fact, its name is Synsepalum dulcificum or miracle fruit. Anything sour you eat after having this amazing fruit tastes sweet! This is one of the many exotic fruits Anil has on his farm.
Essentially an areca and rubber farmer, Anil developed an interest in rare and exotic fruits five years ago. His father, Krishna Sharma, also loved fruits and had grown over 20 different jackfruit and mango varieties on his farm. Inspired by his father, Anil went several steps ahead to grow many varieties of fruit plants, most of which are largely unheard of and not seen in this part of the world.
Now, Anil has a collection of over 750 rare plants that are being grown on about 30 acres of his farmland. About 250 of them have started bearing fruits. He collected them from various parts of the globe apart from nurseries and individual collectors in Karnataka and Kerala. About 75% of plants are exotic. They are sourced from countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Africa, Australia, and Mexico.
Anil’s friends from different countries get seeds that are allowed to be brought here. Sometimes it takes several days to reach him after a lengthy procedure, which adds to the actual cost of the plant. He is open to the exchange of plants and seeds with fruit enthusiasts. He is always on a hunt for new fruit plants.
The specialty of Anil Balanja’s Exotic Fruit Farm
Interesting thing is that exotic fruit farm has several varieties of a single species. For instance, he has 25 varieties of cherry, 30 varieties of Annonaceae (custard apple), and 30 varieties of Garcinia among others. There are so many varieties of pineapples, guava, areca nut, coconut, water apples, mango, jackfruit, lemon, and so on. Though growing some of these varieties is expensive, it does not stop Anil from pursuing his passion.
One can also find seedless varieties of mango, jackfruit, lemon, guava, and Jamun growing on his farm. Anil’s interest goes beyond fruits too. He also has a collection of a variety of tubers and medicinal plants.
Grafting fruit plants
Grafting has helped Anil collect many varieties without losing their original character. Anil maintains a complete record of each plant starting from the place and date of its collection to the date of harvest. The record also includes information like the scientific name of the plant, kind of climate and management required, time of flowering, date of the first crop, the weight of fruits, taste, medicinal properties, and so on.
For growing any new plants, Anil initially grows them in a polyhouse. The seeds are kept for sprouting and studies several factors essential for their growth and bearing fruits like desired temperature, water requirement, soil condition, and proportion of shade and sunshine. Polyhouse facilitates the plant’s acclimatization to native climatic conditions. Some seeds need over six months to sprout. He takes special care to get rid of fungal and pest infestation during the period.
To buy plants from Anil, (do WhatsApp): +91 94480 67466