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Home>FFTC Document Database>Annual Reports>FFTC 2018 ANNUAL REPORT>Project 10: Enhancing collaborative research network on the control of dragon fruit diseases and pests in Southeast and South Asia
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Seminars and workshops

Project 10: Enhancing collaborative research network on the control of dragon fruit diseases and pests in Southeast and South Asia

The Dragon Fruit Regional Network is a three-year project funded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It includes a yearly workshop, the design and development of an interactive website and continuous information collection on the entire dragon fruit industry, including the integration of current research within the Asian Pacific region. The end goal of the entire project is to form a self-sustaining collaborative research network which can both share information and promote the entire dragon fruit value chain. 

In 2018, FFTC collaborated with the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) and New Zealand Plant and Food Research (PFR) to organize an international workshop and steering committee meeting entitled “Enhancing Collaborative Research Network on the Control of Dragon Fruit Diseases in Southeast and South Asia.” Held in Taipei, Taiwan, on April 23-24 the workshop gathered 20 speakers from seven countries who shared their knowledge and expertise in dragon fruit production and marketing. The workshop had two major parts—technical papers and country reports. Technical papers include the production system, pest disease management, GAP and quality system, postharvest handling and quarantine requirements. On the other hand, the country reports covered production yields and planting areas, consumption, import and export data, agronomy and postharvest practices and the other related issues and problems on dragon fruit production and marketing in Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, etc.

Some of the issues raised during the discussion and workshop sessions included climate change, which, according to the experts, is considered the most important issue and challenge faced by the entire dragon fruit industry. Coping with the forces of Nature is a challenge in terms of strategizing farm operations, technology generation and marketing. High production cost is also an important issue mentioned especially in developing countries with high labor and inferior technology and equipment.

Major findings and recommendations

1. Follow up research work on the latest breeding techniques for dragon fruits, farm mechanization, extension of shelter life, use of silicon fertilizers and other guides to fertilizer use;
2. Do research work to determine optimum concentrations of major and minor elements in dragon fruit cladodes;
3. Provide more information on the use of pesticides and fungicides in dragon fruits;
4. Document the best practices in dragon fruit production, as well as quarantine and protocols of different dragon fruit growing countries and share it with the members of the regional network;
5. Strengthen tie-ups with research institutions and the academy;
6. Develop a mechanism for the provision of disease detection kits in the region;
7. Improve the use of ICTs in dragon fruit production to include the use of smart phones, phone apps, remote sensing, smart use of fertilizers, etc.; and
8. Develop market studies for dragon fruit including market entries and access, postharvest practices, consumer preferences and customer requirements.

In order to ensure the continuation of the dragon fruit activities, a team composing of dragon fruits expert from seven countries formed a steering committee meeting which was conducted on April 26. The meeting aimed to flesh out the issues raised during the workshop and chart new directions for the entire project. It was during this meeting that the attendees agreed that the project should go beyond the issue of dragon fruit pests and diseases and should cover other aspects of the entire dragon fruit value chain. This includes breeding, production system, postharvest handling, quality control system, marketing and quarantine, etc.

From the output of the Steering Committee and the scientific papers generated and other information collected from the sharing of ideas among experts during the workshop, a Dragon Fruit Network Platform (DFNet) was proposed to create. One of its major objectives is to share information, develop collaborative research programs and prepare joint proposals for research funding. It also aimed to establish standardized research methodology for major issues, provide surveillance of emerging dragon fruit pests and diseases in the Asian Pacific region, document the best practices in dragon fruit production and collect dragon fruit varieties information. 

DFNet’s major output for 2018 is the design and development of a DFNet Website. Its basic aim is to have a concrete repository of data and information on the entire dragon fruit value chain. One of its first major tasks is to retrieve and collect papers from the existing FFTC database. From the inventory of existing data, an outline of the website structure was formed. This included papers from past workshops, existing articles from scientific journals, latest news from global media, photos and other information. A website company was consequently outsourced to help in the design of the present DFNet website which can now be accessed at http://df.fftc.agnet.org/Page/Home.aspx and is part of the FFTC website. The website was launched in December 2018 and is still a work in progress. It is envisioned to be an interactive medium where experts and dragon fruit enthusiasts can have a healthy discussion of relevant issues pertaining to this promising fruit.


After the workshop, a steering committee meeting was conducted on April 26 to flesh out the issues raised during the workshop and chart new directions for the project. It was during this meeting that the members of the committee agreed to go beyond the issue of dragon fruit pests and diseases and cover other aspects of the entire dragon fruit value chain.


After the workshop, a steering committee meeting was conducted on April 26 to flesh out the issues raised during the workshop and chart new directions for the project. It was during this meeting that the members of the committee agreed to go beyond the issue of dragon fruit pests and diseases and cover other aspects of the entire dragon fruit value chain.


Readers can use the QR code scanner app from their mobile phones to scan the code on the left to access the DFNet website.