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Philippines: Farmer's off-season dragon fruit proves a hit

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-09-18  Views: 11
Core Tip: In the Abra province in the Philippines, a farmer is growing off-season dragon fruit with the technical assistance of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)–Abra Field Office, headed by Provincial Director Menandro Buenafe.
In the Abra province in the Philippines, a farmer is growing off-season dragon fruit with the technical assistance of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)–Abra Field Office, headed by Provincial Director Menandro Buenafe. A solar system was installed at the farm of Mr. Condrado Sevillleja that allows the production of his off-season dragon fruit.

Buenafe said the solar system provides artificial lighting for the dragon fruit to prolong the fruiting period of the plants. The solar system worth P750,000 is a loan from the DOST to be paid back in three years.

Sevilleja started his dragon fruit plantation four years ago with more than 2,000 cuttings he procured from the Dragon Fruit Farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. With the more than 2,000 cuttings, he was able to plant 700 posts.

Today, there are now more than 3,000 posts planted in his two-hectare plantation that is part of his 18-hectare lot.

The solar system is effective, Sevilleja says. The peak of harvest season is usually from July to October. The plants start to bloom in May and fruiting starts in June. But with his solar system, the fruiting period is prolonged.

This year alone, Sevilleja said he was able to harvest 7,000 kilos of dragon fruit. He sells his fruits in Bangued, La Union and Baguio City. He also produces by-products such as moisturizing soap, wine and vinegar.
Sevilleja plans to expand his dragon fruit farming into an eco-tourism site because of the presence of the scenic Abot Waterfalls within his 18-hectare compound. His eco-tourism project is being assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry – Abra Provincial Office.
 
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