Thursday, May 25, 2006

The potential of the dragon fruit

The dragon fruit is a native of Central and South American countries and was introduced in the Philippines in the 1900s through trading and exchange of goods by the Spaniards and the Filipinos.

One will not be surprised if new fruit discoveries are sprouting all over the fruit basket of the Philippines, Davao City. Come to think of it, people really go out of their way to find new fruits that boost the fruit industry. One of the newest fruit discoveries is the Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus Britt & Rose) locally called "Pithaya." Others call it Thang loy or cactus fruit. It thrives well in warm climate.

The dragon fruit is a native of Central and South American countries and was introduced in the Philippines in the 1900s through trading and exchange of goods by the Spaniards and the Filipinos. Today, the crop is grown in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan. The Philippines is gaining a competitive edge through mass propagation and production in Cavite and Davao. However, Davao is dead serious in making the fruit a part of its booming fruit industry.

In a recent dragon fruit harvest festival held on 12 August 2005 in Manambulan, Tugbok, Davao City, the research personnel of the Department of Agriculture - Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-SMIARC) testified that the fruit showed potential and competitive advantage for the local fruit industry because of its production and economic performance. This can be attributed to the crop's growth and adaptability performance as evidenced by its big and heavy fruits that demanded higher price during the harvest festival.

During the festival, other Mindanao regions committed their support in making the fruit a part of their agricultural programs through partnership of the local government units, fruit growers and private sector, and networking in research and development, marketing and enterprise development, and processing and product development.

Based on these commitments, DA-SMIARC is now expanding its propagation and production areas to address the required planting materials of interested parties. Incidentally, the Ayala Group of Companies (AGC) handling the agribusiness sector started their share of crop production with an initial 5,000 hills. If proven to have economic returns, the AGC will expand to wider areas complete with technical and financial support.

Physical characteristicsThe fruit is round, often red colored with prominent scales. The thin rind encloses the large mass of sweetly flavored white or red pulp and small black seeds. Some varieties are pinkish or yellow called a "priceless treasure". It can be taken as fruit, flower, vegetable, health product and medicine. The crop belongs to the cacti family either as climbing cacti - epiphytic with aerial roots to cling to supporting hosts or structures or singly growing without any support.

There are two common dragon fruit varieties propagated in the country, namely the red varieties (Hylocereus undatus and Hylocereus polyrhizus) and yellow variety (Selenicereus megalanthus). The red variety (Hylocereus undatus) is favored over the yellow variety because of its unique physical features such as color, taste, and size. Bio-physical requirements and cultural managementDragon fruit grows best in areas with uniformly distributed rainfall throughout the year.

Pitaya prefers free draining soil such as the sandy to clay loam types with pH of 5.3 to 6.7 with high organic matter. However, pitaya is also grown successfully in sandy soils, avoiding water-logged areas and saline soils. Mounding is recommended for flat terrain that is subject to periodic flooding. Pitaya is shallow rooted with most roots concentrated at the top 15-30 cm soil depth. Optimum elevation is 100 to 800 above sea level preferably with 30% shade to full sun, as Pitaya grows slowly when shaded.


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AGRI-INFO/MAY 25, 2006



TITLE: THE POTENTIAL OF THE DRAGON FRUIT


ALAM BA NINYO KUNG ANO ITONG DRAGON FRUIT?

ITO AY ISANG PRUTAS NA NAGMULA PA SA CENTRAL AT SOUTH AMERICA AT UNANG IPINAKILALA SA ATING BANSA NOONG 1900S SA PAMAMAGITAN NG PALITAN NOON NG KALAKAL SA MGA ESPANYOL.

BAGAMAN MATAGAL NA ITONG IPINAKILALA SA ATIN, AY MAITUTURING PA RING ITONG BAGONG URI NG PRUTAS NA KAILANGANG PAG-IBAYUHIN ANG PAGTATAGUYOD PARA TANGKILIKIN.

ANG NATURANG PRUTAS AY TINATAWAG NA PITHAYA SA DAVAO CITY, MAAARI DIN ITONG TAWAGIN SA PANGALANG THANG LOY O CACTUS FRUIT.

BUKOD SA DAVAO CITY, ITINAGATUYOD DIN ITO PARA SA MASS PROPAGATION AT PRODUCTION SA LALAWIGAN NG CAVITE, GAYUNMAN ANG DAVAO PA RIN ANG SERYOSO NA PALAGANAPIN ANG INDUSTRIYA NG DRAGON FRUIT.

ANG DRAGON FRUIT AY HUGIS BILOG, KARANIWAN ITONG KULAY PULA AT MERONG ANIMOY KALISKIS. SA LOOB NITO AY ANG KULAY PUTI O PULANG LAMAN NA MATAMIS AT MERONG KULAY ITIM NA BUTO.

ANG IBA PANG VARIETY NITO AY KULAY ROSAS O PINKISH O DILAW NA TINATAWAG NAMANG PRICELESS TREASURE. ANG DRAGON FRUIT AY KABILANG SA CACTI O CACTUS FAMILY NGUNIT ITO AY GUMAGAPANG.

BUKOD SA PILIPINAS, ANG DRAGON FRUIT AY ITINATANIM DIN SA VIETNAM, THAILAND, MALAYSIA AT TAIWAN.

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