Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - publications

Oct. 28, 2015


R&D strategic planning to expand Southeast Asian marketing potential of tropical fruit seeds and seedlings

Tropical fruit offers a significant opportunity for agricultural and economic growth for many developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. They also help fill in the gaps during the low season of fresh fruit supply in the temperate region and adapt to extreme weather elements caused by climate change. With the increasing number of bilateral, plurilateral and regional free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region, opportunities arise for tropical fruit producers and entrepreneurs to expand the supply of their products to markets within and outside their regions of origin. Opportunities also appear for producers to participate in domestic production and marketing of tropical fruit in the countries other than their own.

Nevertheless, the potential of expanding the international market of tropical fruit has been offset by increasing complex issues of enhancing production efficiency with appropriate varieties, diagnostic tools, structural components, tools, machineries, etc.; quality requirements of imported tropical fruit products; intellectual property rights of improved production materials; quarantine regulations; food safety protocols; the rising cost in production, distribution and compliance programs; etc. To address these issues in promoting the international marketing potential of tropical fruit, the sound science and technology programs is set to provide certain solutions. In this regard, however, all initiatives of R&D programs must be evidence- or analysis-based, including forward looking analysis about likely trends and future changes. From the outset, the R&D programs will have to define the needs in each of the key issues, to assess the available materials and methodologies, and to evaluate the feasibility of meeting these needs. Later on, the R&D programs will have to make sure that relevant knowledge and improved technologies generated from these programs are adopted and implemented by the tropical fruit producers and entrepreneurs.

The objectives of this project are: 1) to acquire the up-to-date information on the prevailing status of tropical fruit production, processing, marketing, exportation, importation, intellectual property rights (IPRs) of innovation, quarantine regulations, grading and safety standards, etc. in selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region. 2) To collect, analyze and recommend available tropical fruit varieties, production materials and tools, and product safety protocols. and 3) To facilitate evidence-based R&D for expanding international marketing potential of tropical fruit by the partner research institutes.

The project partners were invited to present their preliminary survey results at the Workshop on Increasing Production and Market Access for Tropical Fruit in Southeast Asia held in the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) in Vietnam from 13-17 October. During the satellite meeting, the project partners deliberated on the improvement for collecting facts and figures related to the aforesaid survey items.

On-site visits on tropical fruit farms in Myanmar took place on 2-8 November (Indonesia) and 15-22 November (Myanmar), respectively. Three members of FFTC staff and Taiwan fruit experts joined the trip to 1) comprehend the ground realities of socio-economic milieu, agro-ecosystem and R&D system related to tropical fruit production and marketing; 2) learn about the constraints in the production and supply of tropical fruit; and 3) establish personal contacts for desirable future collaboration.

Major accomplishments

Gist of the preliminary reports

  • Japan: Consumers are fond of tropical fruit because of their diversity, uniqueness and functionality. And importation of tropical fruit is expected to increase should the commodities meet the standards of quarantine, safety and quality.
  • Korea: Banana and pineapple are two major tropical fruit imported into the country. These, and other tropical fruit imports need quarantine inspection at the production site. Cultivation of tropical fruit under greenhouse is being developed.
  • Indonesia: Fruit trade is export (2.68%) vs. import (97.32%). Consumption of fruit is very low at 24.76 kg/person/year, and fruit orchard is small.
  • Myanmar: Much of the focus on fruit production is export oriented, despite of the low per capita consumption.
  • Philippines: Production system ranges from backyard for village consumption to highly integrate for export market. Major species are banana, mango, pineapple, carambola, papaya, durian, lanzones and watermelon.
  • Taiwan: The country has well-established system form producing healthy planting materials of certain tropical fruit, and related diagnostic systems for major diseases.
  • Thailand: Two strategic plans, the Strategy for Thai Fruit Development (2010-2014) and Horticultural Crop Research Strategy (2013-2016) aim to increase production efficiency, increase the value of produce, expand both domestic and export markets and improve the databse of R&D.
  • Vietnam: Major fruits are dragon fruit, longan, rambutan, and guava. Research efforts focus on the improvement of off-season production, plant protection and stress tolerance.

Asia-Pacific information platform on agricultural policy

Type: Database and network

Date and venue:  2013-2014, Taiwan ROC

Participants: Contracted socioeconomists partners from selected countries in the Asian Pacific Region

Co-sponsors: Council of Agriculture (COA), Taiwan ROC


FFTC consultant Dr. George Kuo (3rd from left) and Dr. Lur Huu Sheng, Director of COA’s Department of Science and Technology meet the officers of Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture to talk about the details of the on-site farm visits to tropical fruit farms and the conduct of the tropical fruit survey in major fruit planting areas in the country.


Dr. George Kuo (third from right) and other members of FFTC staff meet the officers and researchers of Indonesia’s Tropical Fruit and Research Institute (ITFRI) to discuss the details of the tropical fruit survey.


Researchers discuss the production and marketing of dragon fruit in Indonesia.


In Myanmar, Dr. Kuo (third from left) meets with officers and staff of the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP) to discuss the details of the tropical fruit survey project.


Dr. Lur Huu-Sheng (left), DG of COA’s Department of Science and Technology and FFTC Consultant Dr. George Kuo, together with FFTC’s Dr. Wan-Tien Tsai listen to researchers of ITFRI as they talk about Indonesia’s tropical fruit trade.



AgriculturalPolicy DragonFruitNetwork