In April, 2015, Mr. Arlan James Rodeo, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Crop Science and Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center, College of Agriculture and Food Science, University of the Philippines at Los Baños, delivers a presentation on “Postharvest Handling of Dragon Fruit in the Philippines.
FFTC and the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), together with the other organizers have been very good hosts to the workshop delegates. The two-day workshop on “Dragon Fruit Initiation Workshop” may be packed with keynote lectures, country reports and technical paper presentations but it was well-organized that not even a technical projector mishap can ruin the jovial and businesslike atmosphere at the Howard Civil Service International House, the workshop’s venue.
In this workshop, I have learned so much about pitaya, more popularly known as dragon fruit in the Philippines. Pitaya might be an emerging crop in the Philippine market but in the process of crafting my presentation, I have seen its huge potential for a very promising industry in the country. This spark of hope was further intensified when I attended the workshop, learning how innovative technologies impacted and changed the course of pitaya production and marketing in other countries, and knowing that there is this regional network which can be relied upon for more hasty and efficient sharing of knowledge, information, and capability, as well as boundless opportunities for research and development collaboration.
Aside from the great pleasure and honor of representing my institution in this event, I would say that the connections I have established during the workshop made the entire experience sweeter and a lot more memorable. For all of this, I have the Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (PHTRC), College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development-Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), FFTC, TARI, New Zealand Plant and Food Research, Mekong Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all the people I have met in the workshop to thank for.
I am hoping that the regional network will be sustained to address the challenges in the dragon fruit industry, and eventually improve the lives of all stakeholders in the value chain. Let us all work together to achieve this goal.
ARLAN JAMES D. RODEO
Institute of Crop Science, and Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center College of Agriculture and Food Science
University of the Philippines Los Baños