PHILIPPINES: Farmer-scientist champions organic dragon fruit production

Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Edita A. Dacuycuy, hailed as the “dragon fruit lady of the north”, once again shares her formula for success.

In a technology field day held in her farm in Barangay Paayas, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, MS Dacuycuy narrated why she started her dragon fruit production ── for her daughter’s chronic constipation problem.

With the technical and financial assistance of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and other government agencies, her dragon fruit farm blossomed into a multimillion-peso enterprise.

During the field day, a culminating activity of PCAARRD’s Science and Technology-based Farm (STBF) Project, Dacuycuy presented the various science and technology (S&T) interventions she applied in her organic production of the dragon fruit.

These interventions include the use of stem cuttings as starting planting materials, plastic mulch, concrete support instead of wooden posts, and of course, the application of organic fertilizer, which she prepares in her farm.

Not content with just producing the fresh fruits, the MS also processes the dragon fruit into jams, cookies, ice cream, and other delicacies.

Helping out Dacuycuy in the discussion is Prof. Maura Lusia Gabriel, a technical expert from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). Gabriel explained the science behind Dacuycuy’s farm practice.


The advocate and her converts

Dacuycuy has long been making the rounds of  Ilocos Norte to promote the organic production of dragon fruit. She envisions Ilocos Norte as the dragon fruit capital of the country.

The production of dragon fruit or “Saniata” in Iloko is now a flourishing industry in the province, providing livelihood and income for commercial growers and many Ilocanos from all walks of life.

While promoting the dragon fruit, Dacuycuy never fails to thank her partners: the Ilocos Agricultural Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARRDEC), Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Training Institute, MMSU, and PCAARRD.

Incidentally, the field day culminated with a cross-farm visit and testimonies of other successful dragon fruit growers from the towns of San Nicolas, Sarrat, and Bacarra.

Mrs. Crispina Santos, principal of the Catuguing Elementary School in San Nicolas, shared that she had a sales of P50,000 and P80,000 from her 1st and 2nd year dragon fruit harvest, respectively.

Dragon fruit plants line both sides of the road in Brgy. Catuguing. According to San Nicolas Municipal Agricultural Officer and Farmers Information and Technology Service (FITS) Manager Norma Calamayan, this is their way of promoting dragon fruit production.

Mr. Emerson Tabios, president of the Palayamanan 4-H Club also of Brgy. Catuguing, added that their dragon fruit venture enabled them to funds for their organization and to provide livelihood to their members.

Lastly, Engr. Rogelio Castillo, owner of the REER Dragon Fruit Farm in Sarrat, described his dragon fruit production as a good source of income and a tourist attraction in his resort. Currently, he has 3,200 plants.


Source: PCARRD News

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