Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dragon Fruit Planting in Malaysia-It is At Crossroad?

There is so much problem of planting of dragon fruit planting in Malaysia.Partly, because it is not in the crop policy of the country. Actually one must remember that there are 15 fruit types been prioritized by the government in the National Agriculture Policy (NAP).They include starfruit,papaya,guava, nangka, mangosteen,durian,manggo, etc . These fruits are been gazetted to be planted in the so call in 'Agroclimatological Zones' meaning crops suitable to the climate.The government will support infrastructure, loans and technical needs to the farmers and agencies interested.

Of late dragon fruits have attracted many investors to dump their money and many get caught. Basically there need a lot to done- FAST and QUICK

1. Disease and resistant planting materials
2.Crop management practices need to be improved
3.Post harvest handling and storage
4.Transfer of technology should be fast and efficient

We dont want to be become like 'fire brigade phenomena'. That is once things done for example planting in a very big acre, disease came and did not know how to tackle the problem or during glut production did not know where to market the fruits.

Although there are already Cooperatives at national and state levels, still not moving smoothly.We should work harder make this industry look more lucrative and better than other farming.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One-Day Seminar on Dragon Fruits

There was a seminar on dragon fruit which was attended by 170 participants. There were two guest speakers from Vietnam namely; Ms Phong and Dr Hoa.

Comparing dragon fruit production in Vietnam which is about 10,000 hectares with Malaysia with 1,000 hectares. This means that Malaysia has one-tenth of what Vietnam has.However, Malaysia has many years to go before it can overtake Vietnam; of course through R&D , and collaboration with various parties concern. My hypothesis is that oil palm and rubber which was once brought by the British colonial was not a Malaysian crop before, but they were from Africa and Brazil, respectively. Through research and continuous hard work, Malaysia has achieved to be the world producer - similarly that goes with dragon fruit. I believe with the technology that we own; we could meet our target and plans supported by our progressive farmers , entrepreneurs as well as 'big brothers' to venture and various parties concerned.

For what I forsee should Malaysia become the world player in this game, she has to come with its own disease free planting materials-back to basic. Educate the farmers on crop husbandry, sanitaion as well as post harvest handling. There are many farmers who had 'burnt their fingers' I must say. But if the transter of technology(TOT) is at par ; then I am pretty sure this goal can be achieved.

Back to Vietnam, they had succesfully achieved EUREGAP markets and still working on GLOBALGAP. There are more things need to be learnt and I am confident that we can make short cuts here and there before we can stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Latest Research Paper in World Food Net

Our paper was selected to be in world-food. net in the latest edition Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment Vol.6 entitles "Growth , yield and fruit quality of red dragon fruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus) fruit as affected by plant support system and intercropping with long bean (Vigna sinensis). by WFL Publisher. Abstract can be read here.

(Those who are interested and wish to have a full paper please let me know.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Visit To Dragon Fruit Farm-40 acre

I have taken a video shot from one of the farms that I visited recently. This 10 -ac farm consisted of one-year plants that is well drained. The total acreage of this farm is 40 acres. The plants are about 1-5 years old. The management is good and they fertilize with organic manure.They planted with red and white varieties. The demand is very good and the supply could not meet the targets.
Another thing I would to stress is that drainage is very important if the land is very flat.In case of heavy rain or shower the water should be drained away quickly. Otherwise, this may cause damage to the rooting system.