By Sonia Isotov
Today, visiting professors from the Mariano Marcos State University of the Philippines toured the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm in Lahaina.
The Marianos Marcos State University professors are on a fact-finding mission to help bolster the business model they are building which involves state universities, provincial and local government. Maui is known to be an ideal location for growing dragon fruit.
Dawn Boucher, manager of the farm, claimed that Maui was “poised to become the center for dragon fruit farming in the United States.”
She added that demand for dragon fruit has been increasing worldwide and these visiting professors are hoping to learn more about how the fruit is grown and marketed in Hawaii in order to nurture their own agricultural industry in Ilocos Norte, Philippines.
Tomorrow, Thursday, September 12, the professors will share their thoughts and plans regarding their business model during a lecture at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
Maui Dragon Fruit Farm is a 27-acre USDA-certified organic farm just outside of Lahaina below the West Maui Mountains. The farm currently grows 16 different varieties of dragon fruit. Their main crop is dragon fruit, but the farm also grow bananas, pineapple, sugarcane, papayas and other crops. Paradise Eco-Adventures, LLC conducts a variety of eco-friendly farm tours on the farm, including walking farm tours, guided zipline farm tours and sphere-riding farm tours.
Native to Southern Mexico and Central America, dragon fruit is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. Dragon fruit is a well-established commercial crop in Vietnam, Thailand, and southern China.
“Dragon fruit is also considered one of the favorite fruits of many Ilocanos because of its known therapeutic properties,” said representatives of Mariano Marcos State University, in a written statement.
Advocates claim the juicy pulp is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium. Dragon fruit may have medicinal properties in relation to helping control diabetes and high blood pressure. It has become known as a “super fruit.”
The lecture will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Laulima 106 at the UH Maui College. To register, please call 984-3231.