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Workshop on Improving Pitaya Production and Marketing


Background and Rationale:

Pitaya or dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp. and Selenicereus spp.) is a climbing-vine cactus species native to the tropical forest regions of Mexico and Central and South America. In the past two decades, it has gained popularity among producers, exporters and consumers alike in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam where agro-environmental conditions are conducive for growing this fruit plant. In Vietnam alone, its cultivation area is reaching near 30,000 hectares with 640,000 ton of fruit products in 2013. And several factors are accountable for the popularity of this crop: 1) high net returns; 2) functional properties because of its high level of antioxidants; and 3) emerging export potential to high-value markets in developed countries due to its uniqueness and health benefits. Pitaya also shows certain agronomic features that improve its potential as a replacement crop with high commercial value. These characteristics include: 1) the relative ease of propagation by cuttings; 2) its relatively low crop maintenance; 3) the short turnaround time between planting and harvesting compared to other tropical fruit trees; 4) its high yield rate; and 5) as a perennial crop, with proper care, it can provide a steady income.

However, on the negative side, many factors limit pitaya potential productivity and downgrade fruit quality. Among them, heavy rainfall events or poor crop management practices such as over-watering can cause flowers to drop, and fruit to split or rot. Apart from limiting the pitaya crop to reach its yield potential, prevailing poor production technologies also lead to serious occurrences of diseases and pests. Currently, anthracnose, stem canker, brown stem spots, and fruit rot are prevalent in major pitaya growing areas in the Asian-Pacific region. And the emerging infectious stem canker has recently caused collapses of many pitaya orchards in Southeast Asia. Protection measures to control these diseases with chemical pesticides are not only costly to small-scale farmers, they also can disrupt natural biological control, and are damaging to human health and the environment. On the other hand, to access higher-value markets of local, regional or international importance, pitaya fruit products need to be free from diseases, pests, blemishes and pesticide residues, along with desirable size, shape, color and taste. Addressing these issues, the implementation of integrated crop management systems including the use of healthy planting materials can improve yield and quality, forcing culture techniques extend the harvest season, and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which involve a systematic, stepwise on-farm operation, assure fruit product safety and quality that will benefit both farmers and consumers.

Therefore, the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) for the Asian and Pacific Region, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), and the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) in Vietnam join hands to organize the workshop to share the latest advances in understanding the constraints limiting pitaya production and marketing as well as newly-developed doable technologies such as optimal spacing, trellising, disease diagnosis, integrated pest management, pruning, phenology manipulation, and GAP that increase pitaya productivity, safety and marketability.

Workshop Objectives:

1) To contribute to the improvement in pitaya productivity, safety and marketability

2) To share the current state of pitaya research

3) To identify areas for collaboration in research and exchange of plant materials


Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Branch (FTHEB), which is a branch of Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute. The Branch was established in 1940 for the improvement of fruit and vegetables adaptable to tropical and sub-tropical environments. Its 64-hectare site is located in Kaohsiung City (22°33' N and 120°22'E) where average temperature during summer is around 33 degrees Celsius and average rainfall in the wet season could reach 2,000 mm. FTHEB with 70-plus research and technical staffs under four research departments has been successful at breeding and selecting tropical fruit and vegetables, improving diagnostic and research techniques, and developing innovative pre-harvest and post-harvest management systems to enhance productivity and quality.
Major findings/recommendations:
  • Consider tissue culture for pitaya in the transfer and exchange of plant materials;
  • Run taste tests of pitaya fruit and make this an SOP in research work to find out more about consumers’ tastes and preferences;
  • Involve stakeholders in the formation of a pitaya network and make sure they are well-informed about the latest in dragon fruit research;
  • Develop strategies to strengthen R&D funding support and the promotion of pitaya in the international market;
  • Compile best practices in pitaya production and marketing and disseminate this using the internet and other forms of social media;
  • Develop capacity building modules on pitaya canopy management, handling of pests and diseases, pruning, grafting and breeding techniques;
  • Conduct further studies on economic losses in pitaya production and marketing as well as the linkages between and among farmers and other participants in the whole dragon fruit marketing chain;
  • Standardize SOPs for handling pests and diseases and conducting consumer surveys.


Program  pdf(707.11KB)



1.   Thirty One Years of Research and Development in the Vine Cacti Pitaya Cultivation in Israel | Paper:  pdf(2.88MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yosef Mizrahi


2.   Status of Dragon Fruit Cultivation and Marketing in Indonesia | Paper:  pdf(1.34MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Irwan Muas and Jumjunidang 

3.   Status of Dragon Fruit Production in Malaysia | Paper:  pdf(1.03MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      M. Zainudin and B. Ahmad Hafiz

4.   Pitaya Production and Marketing Scenario in Myanmar: Current Status and Challenges | Paper:   pdf(798.05KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Zaw Htun Myint

5.   Dragon Fruit Production and Marketing in the Philippines: Its Status, Constraints and Prospects | Paper:  pdf(1.59MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Leonardo T. Pascua, Miriam E. Pascua and Maura Luisa S. Gabriel


6.   Pitaya Breeding Strategies for Improving Commercial Potential in Taiwan | Paper:  pdf(776.16KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Pi-Chuan Liu, Shang-Han Tsai, and Chung-Ruey Yen

7.   Development of Integrated Crop Management Systems for Pitaya in Taiwan | Paper:  pdf(1.22MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yi-Lu Jiang and Wen-Ju Yang

8.   Pitaya Reproductive Phenology in Relation to Production System | Paper:  pdf(1.12MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yi-Lu Jiang and Wen-Ju Yang


9.   Fungal Diseases of Pitaya in Malaysia | Paper:  pdf(1.21MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Masratul Hawa Mohd, Baharuddin Salleh and Latiffah Zakaria

10. Diseases of Dragon Fruit in Thailand: Incidence and Management Strategies | Paper:  pdf(1.46MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Pornpimon Athipunyakom, Suneerat Seemadua, and Chanintorn Doungsa-ard

11. Pathogen Identification and Management of Pitaya Canker and Soft Rot in Taiwan | Paper:  pdf(1.47MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Chu-Ping Lin, Hui-Fang Ni, Pao-Jen Ann, Hong-Ren Yang, Jiao-Wen Huang, Ming-Fuh Chuang, S.L. Shu , S.Y. Lai, Yi-Lu Jiang, and Jyh-Nong Tsai

12. Viral Diseases of Pitaya and Other Cactaceae Plants | Paper:  pdf(1.02MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yong-Shi Li, Ching-Hua Mao, Ting-Yi Kuo, and Ya-Chun Chang

13. Management Strategies of Major Pitaya Diseases in Vietnam | Paper:  pdf(1.40MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Nguyen Thanh Hieu and Nguyen Van Hoa

14. Study of Insect Pests and Development of Their Control Measures on Dragon Fruit | Paper:  pdf(1.25MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Le Quoc Dien and Nguyen Van Hoa


15. Development and Implementation of GAP on Pitaya in Vietnam: Status and Challenges | Paper:  pdf(1.14MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Nguyen Van Hoa , John Campbell, Nguyen Huu Hoang, and Nguyen Minh Chau

16. Value Chain Initiatives for Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Market Development | Paper:  pdf(1.11MB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      John Malcolm Campbell, Nguyen Van Hoa, Nguyen Minh Chau, and Nguyen Huu Hoang


17. Off-Season Flowering Treatment by Lighting Red Pulp Dragon Fruit in Gia Lam District, Hanoi, Vietnam | Paper:  pdf(187.39KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Nguyen Quoc Hung and Nguyen Thi Thu Huong

18. Production Potential of Pitaya in the U.S. Virgin Islands | Paper:  pdf(199.31KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Thomas W. Zimmerman, Carlos Montilla and Stafford M.A. Crossman

19. Dragon Fruit: The New Money Crop in the Coastal Areas of Northwestern Cagayan | Paper:  pdf(205.71KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Marilou B. Agaid, Amedita D. Ampe, and Jennilyn A. Tayawa

20. Sustaining and Improving Pitaya Production in Abiotic Stress Environments: A Case Study in Penghu, Taiwan | Paper:  pdf(201.91KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yu-Chun Chu, Wen-Hao Lee, and Jer-Chia Chang

21. Taiwan’s New Growers Group Expands and Promotes Pitaya | Paper:  pdf(181.43KB) PPT: pdf(2.88MB)
      Yu-Hsien Lin



Proceedings (32MB)    pdf(31.66MB)


Highlights of the Workshop on Improving Pitaya Production and Marketing


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