Enhancing the value of Vietnamese Dragon fruit
22 April 2013
New Zealand has a long history of successfully exporting premium horticultural products to high value markets throughout the world. A major contributor to this success is the sophisticated R&D that underpins the sector, helping growers produce high quality sustainably grown fruit and vegetables that store well and maintain their premium condition right through to the consumer.
Plant & Food Research, the Crown Research Institute (CRI) that supports New Zealand’s horticulture, arable, seafood and food industries, has in recent years also been working with the support of the New Zealand Aid Programme and AusAID on projects to help impoverished rural farmers in developing nations to enhance the value of their own produce.
Following the recent success working with fodder crops in Nepal, Plant & Food Research is set to begin collaborating on a new New Zealand Aid Programme funded 5-year project in Viet Nam alongside local scientists from the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI) and the Sub-Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Postharvest Technology (SIAEP).
The project aims to support the advancement of the country’s developing Dragon fruit industry and improve the incomes of the smallholder farmers and other participants in the supply chain, through the development of improved novel dragon fruit cultivars, sustainable production techniques and postharvest systems that meet high-value international market requirements. In addition the project also aims to help train and up-skill local growers and pack-house operators, enabling them to make better management decisions and deliver high-quality produce to international markets.
“It’s a great project to be involved with” says Dr Michael Lay-Yee, Programme Director at Plant & Food Research. “The opportunities to add value to an exciting horticultural product like dragon fruit are immense, and I’m really looking forward to the benefits I think we can return to local growers and the industry here in Viet Nam”.
Breeding new fruit cultivars is a long and complicated process and the development of new Dragon fruit cultivars may take several years, so too the necessary developments to the country’s production and postharvest systems and infrastructure. However while the main impact of this project is not expected to be seen for several years, the opportunity for Vietnamese dragon fruit is significant. The long term goal is that through the efforts of this project the reputation and international brand around the crop will be built, leading to enhanced global markets and improved returns to all involved.
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365