Australia’s dragon fruit industry set to grow

Australia’s emerging dragon fruit industry is set to grow thanks to a partnership between AgriFutures Australia and CQUniversity (CQU) that will unite the nation’s dragon fruit growers to strengthen industry knowledge and enhance R&D capacity.

As part of an AgriFutures Australia funded research project, CQU has helped to lead the formation of the Australian Dragon Fruit Growers Association in 2021 and now, the Association is looking to recruit more growers to the organisation.

Lead researcher on the project Dr Stephen Xu said that the newly formed Association aimed to connect growers to share knowledge, skills and plans for the future, so that the industry could expand and open up to new markets.

“The research data that is currently available shows Australia’s dragon fruit industry had a turnover of approximately $2.3 million in 2012, but there has been no further update to this figure to indicate if the industry has experienced further growth in the decade since.

“While reliable annual turnover figures aren’t available it is clear that in recent years, the industry has rapidly expanded in Queensland, especially in the Southeast, where several larger farms have established dragon fruit crops.

“We have also spoken to other producers who are either in the process of establishing crops or who are currently planning to establish crops,” said Mr Xu.

“The tropical and exotic fruit industry in Australia is estimated to be worth millions of dollars annually, and with dragon fruit classified as a high value crop there is strong commercial potential for growers within both domestic and international markets.

“A national-level association, that can facilitate communication and information exchange within the industry, is essential to understand industry capacity and further develop the market potential, so that producers can recognise great returns on investment.

“The project will also foster industry engagement with potential R&D service providers to build networks and foster collaboration.”

“To achieve this, CQU researchers have conducted several preliminary research cases studies with government departments and producers.

In conjunction with AgriFutures Australia, CQU also participated the ‘Tropical Exotic Fruit Symposium’ led by the Northern Territory Farmers Association in 2021, which focused on the research development and engagement of several tropical fruit crops including dragon fruit.

Dragon fruit growers or those looking to enter the industry can learn more about the project or joining the association by contacting association secretary Jasmine Wang at australiandragonfruitgrowers@gmail.com

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