By Zac B. Sarian
A 22-hectare dragon fruit farm in Angeles City saved a big amount during the last summer months, thanks to an affordable drip irrigation system supplied by Greg de los Trinos who was helped by the Department of Agriculture to develop his drip system.
According to Crisper Garcia who manages Dragonfruit Philippines, Inc. (DPI), before the drip system was installed in the entire farm, the company spent a fortune manually watering the 40,000 dragon fruit posts. They needed 57 farm workers to water the plants manually in one day because one worker can only water about 700 posts and he is paid a P350 daily wage.
The cost of the drip system, according to Garcia, is just the equivalent of one month’s wages of the manual waterers. And the drip system can last for at least five years.
With the drip system, the plants are watered more uniformly and adequately. With sufficient watering, the fruits could become bigger and with better quality. This year, Garcia said, they expect to harvest at least 500 tons of fruits.
The management of the farm does not only look at supplying the market with fresh fruits. They are developing other products that include dragon fruit chips. The product is under development but it has great potentials. The chips are all natural–no sugar added.
The slices are simply dried to a desired moisture content. So far, the chips are very nice to eat, chewy and with the right sweetness. If produced commercially and packed attractively, the product could become a bestseller. Excess fruit production that cannot be absorbed by the fresh fruit market could be processed for added value.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2018 issue.