Plant & Food Research, the New Zealand-based science company, has announced that it is to begin a special collaboration with the aim of enhancing the value of Vietnamese dragon fruit.
The New Zealand Aid Programme-funded project, due to run for five years, will see Plant & Food Research join with Vietnamese scientists from the Southern Horticultural Research Institute and the Sub-Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Postharvest Technology.
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 cultivars, sustainable production techniques and postharvest systems that meet high-value international market requirements, Plant & Food explained.
In addition, the project also aims to help train local growers and packhouse 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” said 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 Vietnam”.
Plant & Food Research noted that the project is not expected to reap commercial rewards for 'several years', and highlighted the fact that the collaborations ambitions were more long term - including developing the international brand and improving returns.