THE PROBLEM AND ITS SCOPE
Dragon Fruit also known as Pitaya or Pitahaya is a popular fruit found mostly in Southeast Asia. It grows on vine-like epiphytic cacti of the genus Hylocereus. These natural products are otherwise called pitaya, local to Mexico and Central and South America (Mizrahi et al., 1997); growing hylocereus product is commercially common in places like Thailand and Vietnam where the atmosphere influences the hylocereus conditions perfectly fitting successfully to its fruits. These natural products for the most part is available around June to November.
A local plant from Central and South America, Dragon Fruit(Hylocereus) or pitaya is gaining its popularity in the Philippine market. The fruit has been attracting the attention of Filipinos for its therapeutic properties, as the Dragon Fruit is rich in anti-oxidant, skin moisturizing properties, and can aide in one’s metabolism. Dragon fruit capital of the Philippines is located in Ilocos Norte about 1,000 hectares have been planted.
A technology-based form on organic production of dragon fruit has been set up on the farm of Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Ilocos Agricultural Resources Research and Development Consortium (PCAARRD – ILAPPDEC) farmer-scientist Editha Dacuycuy hailed as the “Dragon Fruit Lady of the North”.
There are different assortments of dragon fruit, red dragon fruit with red flesh and red skin, dragon fruit with yellow skin and white flesh, and red skin and white flesh. All dragon fruits assortments have the flesh or dragon fruit pulp filled with small seeds that look similar to those that can be found in kiwi fruit which are edible with the fruit. The sprouts of this plant are extraordinary; truth be told, they are one of the biggest blossoms in the world. The reason that they are so extraordinary is not their size; the reality the blossoms open for one night, and the fragrances that you will experience during the night are dreamlike and fascinatingly fruity.
The Dragon Fruit is a nutritious organic product with an assortment of uses. The pulp of the dragon fruit can be eaten fresh and can be made into different significant process items such as shakes, jams, ice cream, wine and others. Dragon fruit possesses medicinal properties. It is known to prevent colon tumor and diabetes, neutralizes harmful substances, decreases cholesterol and hypertension. It is likewise answered to control high sugar levels, prevent cancer and bleeding. It is rich in Vitamin C, Phosphorus, and Calcium which help to creates solid bones, teeth, and skin. This natural product is viewed as a “healthy fruit” (ICBF, 1992, Morton, 1987).
Dragon fruit or Pitaya has a lot to offer to the community. It has a lot of health benefits and also, it could be processed into other products.According to the Journal of Guangxi Academy of Sciences, dragon fruit is rich in minerals, plants albumin, water-soluble dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, flavonoids and flavonols, which is good for the prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, modulation of immune function and regulation of hormone levels. Currently, dragon fruit development projects mainly focused in enzyme product development, the natural edible pigment, potent wine production, seed oil extraction, gel juice skin care and makeup product development and so on.
In the Philippines, the Dragon Fruit capital is Ilocos Norte which has been set up by the farmer scientist Editha Dacuycuy who is known to be the “Dragon Fruit Lady of the North.” Although there is a big plantation of this fruit in Ilocos Norte and some other parts in the Philippines, the supply of the fruits cannot cater the rapidly increasing demand. With a lot of health benefits attributed to the drargon fruit, its popularity is now increasing particularly here in Bohol.
In Bohol, only a few privately owned farms of Dragon Fruit is established. The booming tourism of Bohol makes it more suitable for business establishments such as cafes, restaurants and hotels. With the popularity of Dragon Fruit to its health benefits, it is now in demand in several establishments.
In 2013, an article of the Philippine Star stated that the dragon fruit production is a big income earner. In the first four years of a dragon fruit farm, one can realize an accrued net income of P2.5 million, according to the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Ilocos Norte.
Taking into account all of this, the establishment of the Dragon Fruit Farm is needed in Rosariohan, Batuan, Bohol to cater demands and to create opportunities for farmers to cutivate idle lands and make it profitable.
According to Republic Act No. 3844, Section 2 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code, it is the policy of the state to make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a source of genuine strength in our democratic society. With this, farmers are encouraged to plant more and discover new variety of products which is in demand in the market that will help them gain higher profit. They are given the sole decision in what to plant and develop ways in growing it.
Hence, farmers must also grow not only as a farmer working in the fields with the same root crops planted every season but also, as a farmer who makes good decisions in business addressing demands of the consumers. The establishment of a dragon fruit farm may not be far from this as it as a fruit crop which is in demand by the market for its many health benefits. Aside from the health benefits, it also has a delicious taste. Furthermore, it is known to be planted organically using available local organic manures and composts, as the demand for nitrogen is less than other fruits. It can also be grown for about 20 years and one hectare could accommodate 800 dragon fruits. Thus, although underutilized, Dragon Fruit is considered a fruit crop for the future. (Gunasena et al.,2006)
As reported by Andy Kiersz (Business Insider,2014), the millennial generation is now growing up and they can have a huge impact with the economy. The millennials are those born 1982-2000 in accordance to sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe which are also the people who coined the word “millennial”. Furthermore, it was stated that millennials are more health conscious than older generations.
Dragon fruit is a fruit crop which is widely known now for its medicinal properties. This fruit prevents many diseases and also, it is rich in antioxidants. It is also rich in vitamins such as Vitamin C, Phosphorus and calcium. (Gunasena et al., 2006) With this, the increasing demand of millennials and other generations who are health conscious can be catered as dragon fruit is viewed now as one of the healthiest fruit.
As the dragon fruit which is a health fruit and a new variety of fruit that is popular now among a lot of people not only here in the Philippines but in other countries, a dragon fruit farm should be established. Here in Bohol, there are a lot of privately owned farms but according to a key informant, they still cannot cater the demands of the customers. With a lot of privately owned farms, there is also a lot of idle lands in Bohol. As Philippines has only two seasons, the dragon fruit is suitable to grow in one of those seasons. As stated by the Resource Exploitation model that agricultural production will expand as long as there is a land to be utilized and someone who will utilized the vast uncultivated land.
In the Agricultural Reform Code, it was stated that it is the policy of the state to create a truly viable and social economic structure conducive to greater productivity and higher farm incomes. As dragon fruit can be processed to a lot of industrial products such as juice, sherbets, jam, syrup, ice cream, yogurt, jelly, preserve, candy and pastries, it will lead to higher farm income because of its high demand in the market. As the demand is increasing, productivity rate will increase as to farmers or other people interested as they will be interested in growing this fruit. This fruit is widely known as a health fruit and has lot of uses thus, it is really a fruit crop not only for today’s generation but also for the future generation.
In the Republic Act No. 3844, Section 2 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code, it is the policy of the state to make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a source of genuine strength in our democratic society. With this, farmers are encouraged to plant more and discover new variety of products which is in demand in the market that will help them gain higher profit. They are given the sole decision in what to plant and develop ways in growing it.
Review of Related Literature
In order to facilitate a clear understanding and to provide for a more concrete background to this manuscript. The researcher includes a discussion of literature that is relevant to the present study.
Dragon fruit production. A wide variety of fruits can be found growing around many homes and a rare fruit called pitaya or dragon fruit.
It was found out that dragon fruit has a high potential as an ornamental fruit crop as well as industrial source of compounds. Its demand is high in the national and international market. Its production could potentially create jobs and generate income for the nation that produces it.
According to Deseada C. Daballos Agriculturist II in Department of Agriculture in Tagbilaran City (Bohol APC), they have not yet conducted a research study on this due to its material cost.
Dragon Fruit Propagation. It is propagated by either seeds or stem cuttings. Stem cuttings are more suitable and were raised in the nursery for 2 to 3 months.
Dragon fruit plant establishment. Planting is done 3 to 4 plants per post. Narrower spacing produces more production rather than larger spacing. 3 meters between concrete post and 4 meters between rows is recommended distance.
Dragon fruit pollination. The blooms should be cross pollinated with dust from an alternate clone or animal types keeping in mind the end goal to set natural product. Hand fertilization is required with self-contrary assortments to guarantee legitimate organic product set and weight. This adds an impressive add up to the work cost of developing these natural products. At whatever point conceivable it is prescribed to plat self-perfect (self-fertile) varieties, in spite of the fact that there are issues with these, also.
Hand fertilization is done effortlessly by physically expelling anthers from one bloom and touching them to the shame of another or gathering the dust and utilizing a brush to fertilize various blossoms. Dust is most feasible at the season of bloom opening, yet hand fertilization was observed to be fruitful well into the night of the next day. The colder the capacity temperature the bigger the subsequent natural product was after hand fertilization. This convention will empower producers to store dust over the winter and fertilize the principal blossoms of the season hence getting a prior and bigger harvest.
Dragon fruit as its fertilization. In Taiwan use of compost is critical for higher yields utilizing natural fertilizer/plant, calcium and micronutrients were connected to upgrade organic product development and solidness.
In California,these desert floras react well to most composts, in spite of the fact that care must be taken not to consume the shallow root framework. Little measure of fertilizer has been connected in the water system water with each watering; animal manures and compost have been used with much success.
The socio economic of dragon fruit. The beautiful pigment of the red flesh pitaya was used for food coloring agents. (Naderi, et al. 2002)
Its flower was used as vegetable name “Bawanghua” which has recently commercialized as a healthy beverage in China and uses as a health food. (Yin et al. 2012).
Review of Related Studies
Some studies definitely on the plantation of dragon fruit and its health benefits given have been conducted in different parts of Asia.
Inquirer Science/Health (2015) visited Editha Dacuycuy owner of a 10-hectared RefMad dragon fruit farm which began in 2005, in Barangay Burgos Ilocos Norte. She is a stage 3 B breast cancer survivor. Her daughter Meredith Kaye suffers from cerebral palsy. The dragon fruit which contains anti-oxidants known as phyto albumins that can help to prevent the formation of cancerous cells. It is also packed with beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2 and C (Bryantdurstchef 2013) also rich in fiber that aids digestion (Medical Health Guide 2013) and made up mainly of oligosaccharides that acts as prebiotics (Food Chemistry 2010) has helped her to keep her cancer and has also minimized Kaye’s seizures and bouts of constipation. At first, the fruit was introduced to the Dacuycuys as a cleansing fruit but later on, they found out through the scientific studies conducted by the research agencies that dragon fruit has proteins that enhance body metabolism, carotene for enhancing memory, calcium that strengthens the development of bones and teeth, phosphorous for tissue development, Vitamin B1 to metabolize carbohydrates and produce energy, Vitamin B2 that improves appetite, Vitamin 3 that moisturizes and smoothen skin and decreases bad cholesterol level, and Vitamin C that improves immune system and promotes healing of cuts and bruise. Jen Vega who was invited in the farm by Ilocos Norte Provincial Government and Cebu Pacific (2011) that Editha and her husband did some research and sought help from the different agricultural agencies. The farm has 11 originally grown varieties that include white, red, and pink varieties which were sold for P150.00 per kilo and the yellow variety which is the sweetest that sold from P400 to P450 per kilo. They supply the supermarket dealers as far as Mindanao. They now harvest 3-4 tons of dragon fruits 10-12 times a year.
The researchers (2018) have conducted an interview with Deseada C. Daballos Agriculturist II in Department of Agriculture who planted several dragon fruits in her backyard. It can either be seedlings or stem cuttings needed to start planting a dragon fruit but stem cuttings are more suitable for commercial cultivation. Planting is done at 3 to 4 plants per post. Planting distance is 3 meters between concrete posts and 4 meters between rows. She used organic fertilizer and the plant continues to grow for almost 3 years. She harvested her dragon fruits once a year between June and August. The plant’s flowers bloom during night time once a year. Deseada’s Team went to a private farm in Sagbayan, Bohol (2017) and found that during night time they pollinate the flowers by interacting the male and female dragon fruit flowers which lead the farm to produce big sizes of dragon fruit and harvested between June to August.
In Malaysia, red dragon fruit was commercialy been planted in the early 2000’s and due to its nutrition value, it received high demand from domestic market. A study was conducted for over four years to improve the yield productivity of red dragon fruit planting by introduced two intensive planting densities at 1,815 trellis plants/ha (3 meters length x 1.8 meters width) and 1, 556 trellis plants/ha (3 meters length x 2.1 meters width). The cumulative yield over four years of harvesting showed that the highest planting density at 1,815 trellis plants/ha produced 48.7 tons per hectare or 170, 066 fruits/hectare, 41.8 tons per hectare or 152, 177 fruits per hectare of 1, 556 trellis plants/ha. The average fruit weight and fruit number per trellis among the planting densities were almost similar and ranged from 276-293 gram per fruit and 94-98 fruits per trellis, respectively. The high planting density at 1, 815 trellis plants/ha did not affect the fruit number and fruit weight but increased the total fruit yield of red dragon fruit by 26.5%. Therefore, the high planting densities at 1,815 trellis plants/ha was recommended for red dragon fruit planting under Malaysia weather condition to achieve the optimum yield productivity. Currently, the total cultivated area of red dragon fruit in Malaysia was increased from 502 ha in year 2005 to 1, 641 ha in (2013). The total fruit production of red pitaya was recorded 10, 961 tons with the wholesale value of RM 55.51 million.
In the study conducted by School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of UniversitiSains Malaysia and published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (2013) dragon fruits which is rich in antioxidants betacyanin can prevent this combative stress and diabetes. In another study on patients with Type 2 diabetes who was given a 600 mg dosage of the red flesh red-skinned dragon fruit over a period of four weeks and who are not dependent on insulin shows a decrease in blood sugar level by more than 19%. And the responsible for this reduction is the flavonoid antioxidants present in the red flesh dragon fruit.
On the following page, the research flow is presented.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
To minimize misunderstanding of terms, the following are defined as used in the context of this study:
Dragon fruit plant
A night-blooming climbing cactus native to Mexico and Central America, cultivated in tropical regions for its edible fruit.
A kind of fruit having red skin covered with large scales and white or pink fresh containing small black seeds.
These fruits are commonly known in English as “dragon fruit”, reflecting its vernacular Asian names. The names Pitahaya and Pitaya derive from Mexico.
Dragon fruit farm
A Dragon fruit farm which is planted with Dragon fruit plants.
Scientific name of dragon fruit plant.
A framework of light wooden or metal bars, chiefly used as a support for fruit trees or climbing plants.
Statement of the Problem
The intent of this study is to determine the feasibility of establishing a Dragon fruit farm in Rosariohan, Batuan, Bohol.
Specifically, it aims to answer the following sub-questions;
1. What is the profile of the key informant in terms of:
1.1 Name of Establishment;
1.2 Years of Establishment;
1.3 Yearly Income
1.4 Kinds of Business
2. What are the underlying factors that justify the establishment of a dragon fruit farm in terms of the following aspects:
2.1 Management aspect;
2.2 Marketing aspect;
2.3 Technical aspect;
2.4 Financial aspect; and
2.5 Socioeconomic aspect
Scope and Limitations
This study focuses on the establishment of the dragon fruit farm in Rosariohan, Batuan, Bohol. The researchers focus on the production and distribution of the dragon fruits in the selected malls, restaurants and hotels in the Province of Bohol.
Significance of the Study
The researcher believed that this humble piece of work will be of help to the following:
To the researcher, the need to learn more, explore compose, distribute, communicate, share, discuss and above all it is giving a mental fulfilment. This may serve as their source of information for future studies.
To the local businessmen, who are interested in Dragon fruit farm in planning to be a partner in the distribution and production of Dragon fruit.
To the farmers, it will provide them employment and improved farming techniques which would solve the quality of dragon fruits and minimize the destructive effects caused by pests and the study and,
To the national government or agencies, this would serve as an encouragement to become supportive of the needs of the dragon fruit farmers to protect this industry by allowing it to thrive under an environment that is free from restrictions and undue regulations.
The researcher used Qualitative Method. This method presents the conceived and projected phases of projects which are the marketing, technical, management, financial and socioeconomic aspects. The researcher will gather data on the present conditions.
Relevant information of this study will be gather from collecting primary data through interviews from the agriculturist and the private owners of the dragon fruit farm including the selected Malls, and Restaurants and Cafes in Bohol.
Research Gathering Procedures
The researcher shall ask permission through sending letters to the Vice-President for Academics, Dean of the College of Business and Accountancy and to the Agency head for the approval to conduct this study.
Selected Malls specifically Alturas, BQ, Shoppers, ICM, Marcela in Tagbilaran City and Alturas Mall in Tubigon, selected restaurants and cafes in the Province of Bohol were chosen as the key informants of this study. The researcher draft letter for the informant asking permission from them to answer the interview questionnaire. The researcher will personally conduct the interview in order to immediately cater some questions and clarification that may arise in answering the questionnaire.
After the approval, the researchers shall distribute the questionnaires to the respondents and key informants. After answering the questionnaire, the researcher tabulated, interpreted and analyzed the data.
The study will be conducted at all dragon fruit farms in Bohol which are Baclayon, Panglao, Albur, Batuan, Lila, Carmen, Sagbayan, Inabanga and Dagohoy as taken from the Department of Agriculture and also, to the malls in Bohol and selected restaurants in Tagbilaran City as the city is the center of business and programs in the province of Bohol.
The participants of the study are the owners of the dragon fruit farms, selected Malls specifically Alturas, BQ, Shoppers, Marcela, ICM Mall in Tagbilaran City, Alturas Mall in Tubigon, selected restaurants and cafes in the Province of Bohol. They are the key informants of the study.
The main instrument of the study is a pretested interview questionnaire. Before gathering of data, the researcher will prepare interview questionnaire that will respond with the information needed to be gathered by the researchers to each different type of respondent in every aspect of the feasibility study and pretest it to participants with the same socio-demographic profile to test its effectiveness and validity.
The researcher prepared two types of interview questionnaires; one for the owners of the farm for the Technical, Management Aspects and Technical Aspects and another for the primary consumers such as Malls, Restaurants and Cafes for the Marketing Aspects. The data obtained from the key informants will serve as the empirical bases in testing the hypothesis which is to determine the feasibility of the study.
To ensure that the ethical consideration has been properly addressed, the paper is submitted for ethics review or interview guide validation to the panel of this study. This to make sure that information gathered and the respondents involved are treated with utmost confidentiality. Letters are also made and adressed to the respondents explaining the purpose of the study and the respondents were asked to sign the Informed Consent before the interview was conducted.