Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - publications

Oct. 27, 2020

Onsite and online workshop tackles the fruit value chain

Onsite and online workshop tackles the fruit value chain

Dr. Ray-Yu Yang (1st row leftmost), FFTC’s food system and nutrition specialist, and project leader and coordinator of this year’s dragon fruit workshop, moderates the onsite and online discussion during the second day of the workshop. Around 70 online participants attended the workshop at the National Chung Hsing University while 700 online participants from 33 countries joined the livestreaming through FFTC’s Facebook page.

Consumer preferences, changing food trends, international quality standards and successful stories about public-private partnerships in the dragon fruit industry—these are just some of the interesting topics which were tackled in the recently concluded workshop and steering committee meeting on “Dragon Fruit Value Chain for Global Markets.” Held on September 22-23, it was the first time in four years that the said workshop was held on two modes—onsite and online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional one-day educational trip to dragon fruit farms was also held in advance and was video-taped so that those who are outside Taiwan can virtually join the trip.

In her opening remarks, FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang said that after several years of discussing dragon fruit production in workshops, it now about time to talk about the dragon fruit value chain. This means its import and export practices, challenges and country experiences, good agricultural practices, quality standards and quarantine requirements for international markets, nutritional and functional traits, value addition, processing properties and consumer preferences.

On the first day, the abovementioned topics were discussed by 12 speakers from Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam as they shared their experiences and perspectives in the dragon fruit industry.

Steering committee meeting
The following day, the DFNet members joined the Steering Committee Meeting and discussed a new phase for dragon fruit project that would be more farmer-inclusive, consumer-focused and with active involvement of international experts. This was followed by the resumption of the dragon fruit workshop program, wherein three dragon fruit farmers Ms. Yui-Chiu Lin, Mr. Chou-Ru Hong, Mr. Ming-Shu Hsieh from Taiwan shared their stories about how they chose to be dragon fruit farmers, how they managed their orchards and the open secrets of their success. On the other hand, Dr. Wen-Li Lee, Director of the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute’s Fengshan Branch, responded to farmers’ challenges and suggestions. The dragon fruit breeder, Ms. Pi-Chuan Liu, who is also from TARI-Fengshan Branch, announced a new variety – named “Little Sweety” which has the elite traits from both the most popular red and white varieties in Taiwan. The two-day program ended with a video presentation from Taichung DARES on value addition program demonstrating the dragon fruit processed products and the program which linked the farmers with the processors. 

This year’s Dragon fruit workshop was organized by FFTC, TARI, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TCDARES) and the Dragon Fruit Research Network (DFNET).

More than 300 people from 33 countries registered in the said workshop. The two-day live video stream via Facebook reached a wide range of people, including 10,100 viewers and 700 online participants who wrote their comments and gave thumbs up rating. 

The full video of the online workshop can be viewed at the FFTC Facebook page while the workshop highlights and proceedings containing the full papers of the speakers can be accessed and downloaded at the FFTC website: www.fftc.org.tw/en/activities

Dr. Hsueh-Shih Lin (middle), Director General of the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), welcomes guests and participants during the opening ceremonies of the DF workshop. Since its inception, TARI has been a partner of FFTC in the conduct of the series of dragon fruit workshops, particularly its Fengshan Branch in Kaoshiung, where most of the nearby dragon fruit farms are located in Southern part of Taiwan.

Twelve speakers who were online from Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam shared their experiences and perspectives in the dragon fruit industry. The following day, the DFNet members joined the Steering Committee meeting and discussed a new phase for dragon fruit project that would be more farmer-inclusive, consumer-focused and with active involvement of international experts.

Prior to the workshop, the Center held a field trip to Southern Taiwan to visit two dragon fruit farms—one was Ru Orchard, whose farm owner, Mr. Chao-Ru Hong, produces high quality dragon fruits through the F2C (Farmer to Consumer) e-commerce business and wholesale channel. Another farm was Pin-Li orchard whose owner, Mr. Ming-Shu Hsieh, cultivates dragon fruit, jujube, and passion fruit and sold these fruits via B2B model to the international and domestic markets. 

FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang (1st row standing left), and  Deputy Director Dr. Akira Hasebe (standing 2nd row at the back) exchange pleasantries with guests and speakers at the Conference Center of the National Chung Hsing University, in Taichung, Taiwan. 

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