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Home>Major Activities>Seminars and Workshops in 2016>Planning Workshop for Establishing a Regional Network on the Integrated Pest Management of Pitaya

Sept. 4-8, 2016
Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand
FFTC: George Kuo
NZ Plant & Food Research: Bob Fullerton
Mekong Institute: Maria Theresa S. Medialdia
TFNet: Desa Hassim
Background / Highlights of Activity


Dragon fruit or pitaya (Hylocereus spp.), a climbing cactus domesticated from the rainforests of Central America, is a crop of increasing importance in south eastern Asian countries. The crop has many characteristics that make it attractive to smallholder intensive farming systems. They include ease of propagation and establishment, relatively low maintenance costs, potentially high yields and a strong export potential with associated high returns per unit land area. In Vietnam alone, there are over 30,000 hectares planted to dragon fruit and the figure expands weekly. Many other countries are increasing their own production to exploit the economic potential of the crop.

As with many ‘new’ crops, growers and technologists in all countries are on a learning curve to understand how best to manage the crop and to mitigate threats related to agronomic practices, postharvest handling and pests and diseases. As in most crops, rapid expansion of cropping areas in a monoculture system has led to serious issues, the most of common of which are diseases. In the absence of appropriate management advice, dragon fruit canker, a fungal disease only recorded from the region within the past five years has already destroyed thousands of hectares of dragon fruit throughout the region. Many other diseases are also affecting the crop in the field and the postharvest value of the fruit.

Many research institutions and universities within the region have research programs aimed at resolving these problems for growers. However, most are operating in isolation from one another, often on limited budgets and with no mechanism for information sharing. The research programs are also regarded as very ‘young’, with most publications on pitaya diseases in Asia not even reaching three years old. With the current small, dispersed, isolated, country-focussed research programs, progress is inevitably slow. Furthermore there is often a significant lag time between the completion of a research project and its publication, meaning that vital information can be delayed or denied in its practical implementation. It is in this light that the participants of the international workshop on “Improving Pitaya Production and Marketing” held on 7-9 September 2015 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan concurred that a mechanism for more rapid and efficient sharing of regional knowledge and capability and for undertaking cross country collaborative research would significantly increase both the cost efficiency and the rate of progress of most research programs.

To that end, the Food and Fertiliser Technology Center (FFTC) for the Asian and Pacific region, the Mekong Institute, New Zealand Plant & Food Research, and International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) are organizing a Regional Workshop on the Control of Dragon Fruit Diseases at the Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand, 4-8 September 2016.


1. bring together key researchers and technologists on dragon fruit diseases from within the region;

2. share the current state of knowledge of dragon fruit diseases in the different countries;

3. identify the priority research questions on dragon fruit diseases;

4. identify the key institutes, universities and researchers engaged in dragon fruit disease research within the region; and

5. establish an informal network committed to information sharing, develop collaborative research programs and prepare joint proposals for research funding.

Outputs and outcomes:

1. Proceedings published that would document recent advancements in the understanding of pitaya diseases and pests, and their control measures

2. A regional network for pitaya IPM with the key stakeholders in Southeast Asia formed for collaborative IPM research, extension and capacity building


1.  Pathogen Characterization and Chemical Control of Pitaya Stem Canker Disease
  | Paper: (598)

2.  Development and Implementation of Gap on Pitaya in Vietnam: Status and
  Challenges | Paper: (408)

3. Pathogen Identification and Management of Pitaya Canker and Wet Rot in Taiwan
  | Paper: (328)

4. Pitaya Diseases in Myanmar | Paper: (352)

5. Pitaya Diseases in The Philippines | Paper:(403)

6. Pitaya Diseases in Taiwan | Paper: (401)

7.  Dragon Fruit Diseases in Thailand | Paper: (507)

8. Pitaya Diseases in Vietnam | Paper: (362)

9. An Overview of Fungal Diseases f Pitaya in Malaysia | Paper: (311)

10. Postharvest Diseases and Effect of Hot Water Treatments on White Fleshed Dragon Fruit
   (Hylocerus Undatus Haw.) | Paper: (331)

11. Viral Diseases of Pitaya and Other Cactaceae Plants | Paper: (411)

12. Infection of Bipolaris Cactivora (Petrak) Alcorn of Dragon Fruits
   (Hylocereus Undatus (Haw.) Britton and Rose and Postharvest Treatments to
   Control the Disease | Paper: (342)​​​​​​​

13. Value Chain Initiatives for Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Market Development | Paper: (300)


Highlights of Regional Workshop on the Control of Dragon Fruit Diseases