LAHAINA - Last week Wednesday, visiting professors from Mariano Marcos State University of the Philippines toured the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm in Lahaina to learn about growing dragon fruit in Hawaii.
Demand for dragon fruit is increasing worldwide, the farm reported, and Maui is poised to become the center for dragon fruit farming in the U.S.
Native to Southern Mexico and Central America, dragon fruit is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. It is a well-established commercial crop in Vietnam, Thailand and Southern China.
Maui Dragon Fruit Farm is a 27-acre U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic farm just outside of Lahaina below the West Maui Mountains.
Hawaii is an ideal location for growing dragon fruit, which feature a juicy pulp rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium.
Mariano Marcos State University wants to create a business model involving state universities and provincial and local government to make Ilocos Norte the "dragon fruit capital" of the Philippines.
The 833 Punakea Loop farm is currently growing 16 different varieties of dragon fruit. It also offers eco-tours with a zipline and "aquaball" rides included in the farm tour.
"The goal is to combine Hawaii's two biggest industries, agriculture and tourism, so that a new generation of farmers in Hawaii will be able to live in harmony with the land while achieving economic prosperity," the farm noted.
For more information on the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, call (808) 264-6127.