Friday, January 27, 2012

Malaysian Dragon Fruit Growing Going Strong

Despite disease outbreak in Malaysia; some dragon fruit farms managed to escape from the catastrophe.This is due to the patience and unrentless effort to combat the disease problems.Farmers had managed to move forward from their past experiences to uphold this lucrative industry.While researchers at their utmost doing research to support the industry be it in farm production or by products. Research must be geared up in order to find new innovations and technological advancements as to cater future problems like climate change and organic farming.
A technical visit was made to a 10-acre in Selangor, to observe what are the problems faced by the growers.There are few problems that I encountered;

1. Weed control is still a challenge and this is due to high cost in weedicides like BASTA. Manual circle weeding is very tedious and laborious.
2. High cost of fertilizers. Agricultural inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and  other chemicals have risen very high to almost 50% increase.
3. Farm management especially mechanization. Large farms should consider machinery as to ease in spraying and in-field transportation.Appropriate planting distant had to be considered and proper planning in field design should be from experts.Such as water source, sunrise and sunset (angle of the sun), etc.
4. Harvesting and grading. There should be grades for fruits like A (450-500 g), B(350-450 g),C (less than 300g), D (small).
Mr. Kelvin from Singapore and  Dr.Zainudin during field visit 

Dragon fruit farm on hillside 

Intra rows - too close for machinery to go in 

Dragon planting intercrop with soursop and chempedak. Note weed problems.

Organic fertilizer used.

Close planting of dragon fruits.

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