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.
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 address the above mentioned recommendations, FFTC, the Mekong Institute (MI), New Zealand Plant & Food Research, and International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) organized a “Regional Workshop on the Control of Dragon Fruit Diseases” at MI, Khon Kaen, Thailand, 4-8 September 2016. After exchange of information among the participants from nine countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific on the issues and their research progress, they have made the following recommendations:
Collaborative research networks provide opportunities for participants to adopt common methodologies and research approaches. In this manner, new research techniques are more readily disseminated and adopted. Information on or access to the latest laboratory techniques and field research methods are particularly valuable to scientists in developing Southeast and South Asian countries who often find it difficult to gain access to up-to-date library facilities, to obtain new equipment and to travel to international or regional meetings. In this way, unnecessary repetition in research is also avoided and the time is saved.
To facilitate the formation of regional dragon fruit network, FFTC, MI, PFR, and TARI formed an organizing committee and held an “Organizing Committee Meeting for Dragon Fruit Pest and Disease Research Network Initial Workshop” at FFTC, Taipei, Taiwan, 27-30 November 2017. After discussion, the committee have made the following recommendations:
Objectives of the Workshop
Organization of the Workshop
Organizing Committee of the Workshop
Keynote Paper I
Country Report I
Technical Report I
Technical Report II
Keynote Paper II
Country Report II
Technical Report III
Technical Report IV
Technical Report V
Identification of Colletotrichum Trucatum Causing Anthracnose Disease on Dragon Fruit and The Efficacy of Some Biological Tools on The Mycelial Growth of The Fungus and Disease Control | Paper:
Mrs. Dang Thi Kim Uyen
Dragon Fruit Regional Network Initiation Workshop