The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research (PRF) is working with the Southern Fruit Research Institute (SOFRI) to implement a project on enhancing the quality of dragon fruit grown in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
The project, which will be carried out from 2013 to 2017, aims to develop a sustainable dragon fruit farming model and apply advanced post-harvest technology to expand the outlets for this kind of fruit.

In 2013, the PRF will disburse 113,350 NZD (nearly 89,000 USD) for SOFRI to run training courses for farmers, upgrade laboratories, complete a quality evaluation system, and conduct research on post harvest preservation methods.

Dragon fruit is cultivated on approximately 3,000 hectares in Tien Giang’s Cho Gao district. Many local farmers have become well off thanks to the fruit’s high export value.

The province plans to increase this farming acreage to 4,500 hectares by 2015 along with speeding up trade promotion and expanding overseas outlets.

The SOFRI plays an important role in transferring agricultural technology to Tien Giang’s farmers to grow dragon fruit of high quality.

The institute has successfully crossbred two new varieties of dragon fruit with red and purple flesh, with the red-flesh fruit now cultivated on large scale and fetching high economic value on the market.-VNA