DOST's lady farmer scientist flames up dragon fruit industry in the northFriday, August 31, 2012 01:05 AM Views : 2357Democrito Z. Magpantay, S&T Media Service, PCAARRD
Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Edita A. Dacuycuy, hailed as the "dragon fruit lady of the north", continues to breathe fire in setting off the dragon fruit industry in Ilocos Norte. In a recent technology field day held in her farm in Barangay Paayas, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, MS Dacuycuy shared her formula for success and inspired all dragon wanna-bes to make money via organic production of the famed reddish-pink colored fruit.
With the technical and financial assistance of the Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and other government agencies, her dragon fruit farm blossomed into a multimillion-peso enterprise.
During the field day, a culminating activity of PCAARRD's Science and Technology-based Farm Project, Dacuycuy shared the various science and technology interventions she applied in the organic production of dragon fruit. Said interventions include the use of stem cuttings as starting planting materials, plastic mulch, concrete support instead of wooden posts, and of course, the application of organic fertilizer, which she prepares in her farm.
Beyond producing and selling dragon fruits, this lady also processes dragon fruit into jams, cookies, ice cream, and other delicacies. Prof. Maura Lusia Gabriel, a technical expert from the Mariano Marcos State University, explained to participants the science behind Dacuycuy's farm practice which maximized her production.
The advocate and her converts
Dacuycuy started dragon fruit production when she learned that the fruit could help ease her daughter's chronic constipation problem. After proving that the fruit not only helps solve constipation but also brings in income, she began making the rounds of Ilocos Norte to promote the organic production of dragon fruit. She envisions Ilocos Norte as the dragon fruit capital of the country.
The production of dragon fruit or "saniata" in Iloko is now a flourishing industry in the province, providing livelihood and income for commercial growers and many Ilocanos from all walks of life.
While promoting the dragon fruit, Dacuycuy never fails to thank her partners, namely the DOST, PCAARRD, Ilocos Agricultural Resources Research and Development Consortium, Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Training Institute, and MMSU. Dacuycuy's field day included cross-farm visit and testimonies of other successful dragon fruit growers from the towns of San Nicolas, Sarrat, and Bacarra.
Crispina Santos, principal of the Catuguing Elementary School in San Nicolas, shared that she had a sales of P50,000 and P80,000 from her first and second year of dragon fruit harvest, respectively.
In Ilocos Norte, there is a clamor for growing dragon fruit in households and communities. In Brgy. Catuguing of San Nicolas town, for example, dragon fruit plants line the roadsides. According to San Nicolas Municipal Agricultural Officer and Farmers Information and Technology Service Manager Norma Calamayan, this is the community's way of promoting dragon fruit production.
Mr. Emerson Tabios, president of the Palayamanan 4-H Club also of said barangay added that the club's dragon fruit venture enabled members to fund their organization and provide livelihood to their members.
Lastly, Engr. Rogelio Castillo, owner of the REER Dragon Fruit Farm in Sarrat town, described his dragon fruit production as a good source of income and a tourist attraction in his resort. Currently, he has 3,200 plants.
Dacuycuy's field day was attended by 137 participants composed of agricultural technicians from various municipalities of Ilocos Norte, technology and livelihood coordinators of elementary and secondary schools, rural women, out-of-school youth, staff members of FITS centers, other ILARRDEC MS, various government offices personnel, and members of the Kailokuan Saniata Dragon Fruit Growers Association.
Ms. Dacuycuy shares with the participants the different s&T interventions she applied in her STBF farm at Burgos, Ilocos Norte