Foreign experts share technology and practices to Guimaras’ dragon fruit farmers

(Photo from Province of Guimaras FB page)

Stakeholders gathered once again at the International Business Forum on Dragon Fruit Farming at Olivia’s Kitchen, San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras on August 10.

The activity is part of the ongoing Guimaras Dragon Fruit Fest Year 2.

The activity is a way of the Provincial Government of Guimaras to provide opportunity for stakeholders, especially the dragon fruit farmers in the island to acquire knowledge and information about the best practices and new technology in dragon fruit farming for them to increase production.

In collaboration with the Philippine Dragon Fruit Association headed by its president Mr. Basil Bolinao, resource persons from other dragon fruit producing countries were tapped.

Engr. Ricardo Martins, an agronomist working in the state of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil, presented the state of dragon fruit industry in the world where Vietnam has the largest plantation of dragon fruit in terms of land area that reaches 54,000 hectares.

Ecuador is the leading exporter, sending 29 million tonnes of dragon fruit abroad every year according to the data presented by Martins.

It likewise shows that China is the top importer of dragon fruit and Martins believe that the country will be the great player in the dragon fruit industry in the coming years being the second nation now that has the widest dragon fruit plantation covering about 40,000 hectares of land.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica has the most variety of dragon fruit planted.

Juan Carlos Piña, agronomist engineer from Costa Rica and the president of Costarican Chamber of Dragon Fruit Growers, shared techniques on selecting the good planting materials for dragon fruit while Engr. Eduardo Saldanha, agronomic development specialist from Brazil, talked about pruning techniques and fertilization for dragon fruit.

Management of diseases affecting dragon fruit was discussed by Prof. Jose Octavio Menten from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.

Engr. Regine Patiño of the Department of Agriculture-High Value Crops and Credit Program said that the forum was a great help to learn the technologies and practices of other countries which will help the Philippines grow the dragon fruit industry, especially the export of this crop to other countries.

“This is really helpful for us even for the government whereas we know that dragon fruit is not really that one of the top fruits we are exporting right now but with the potential and the support and the drive from our dragon fruit stakeholders I think we can further expand. We hope for more forums/symposiums like this so that we can learn from the expertise of other countries,” she said.

The Department of Agriculture assured its support to the stakeholders to further expand the dragon fruit industry in the country.

Vice Governor Atty. John Edward G. Gando lauded the organizers for having the forum because there was an exchange of ideas that can give local farmers a comprehensive understanding of the dragon fruit industry.

Gando said that the Provincial Government of Guimaras hopes that dragon fruit will become one of the banner crops of the province alongside its world class mangoes.

The vice governor extended gratitude to the resource persons and all stakeholders who organized the activity.

Since the launch of the Guimaras Dragon Fruit Festival last year, from six hectares, dragon fruit plantation in the Province of Guimaras has already reached 28 hectares.