Meet Edita from the Philippines
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Edita Dacuycuy – the Dragonfruit Queen of the Philippines – wasn’t always the ‘Dragonfruit Queen’.
How did you get your name, “the Dragonfruit Queen of the Philippines”?
My agriculture journey started with my daughter, Kate, who has cerebral palsy and was struggling with finding a therapeutic solution for her constipation. Upon hearing the benefits of dragonfruit from my staff’s daughter, we decided to try it. Immediately, my daughter’s ailments were relieved – and we started planting more dragonfruits in their backyard.
We never envisioned to make it what it is now today. We are not farmers, I know how to plant ornamental plants like orchids, but not in farming. We started like that. Our neighbours started asking about the dragonfruit, and we said it is for our daughter’s constipation problems.
How did your dragonfruit business pick up?
When we found out how helpful the dragonfruit was, we dedicated 1-hectare of land into a dragonfruit plantation. With that 1-hectare, we started to help more people who need it, like my daughter. We have helped in educating people on the benefits of dragonfruit: in our province, region and also nationwide. We want to bring the dragonfruit to everyone’s table, by making it accessible and affordable. At the time we started planting dragonfruit – we weren’t thinking of the profit, we just wanted people experience the health benefits of the fruit.
We are very fortunate to have been able to contact a leading dragonfruit farmer in Thailand – we sent our daughter to learn more about the management of dragonfruit, which was really helpful for us.
With the help of the Department of Agriculture, they visited the farm, published a story and that’s how the build-up of the dragonfruit industry started.
How will you continue contributing to the Philippine agriculture sector?
We have a lot of barren land. Dragonfruit does not need a lot of water and fertilizer. If Philippine agriculture could focus on this high-value crop, it could help in the Philippine economy. This is the last dream that I have. This is the very reason why I hop from island to island, from province to province, enlightening and inspiring more and more growers to really get into the dragonfruit industry.
The Refmad-V Enterprise (Rare Eagle Forest Marine & Agricultural Development-Ventures Enterprise) is the first organic dragon fruit plantation in Northern Philippines. It is owned and managed by Mrs. Edita Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy, a multi-awarded farmer-scientist and an innovative woman leader in Ilocos Region.
In 2015, Ms. Dacuycuy and her enterprise was recognized as Outstanding Filipino Achiever for Business Excellence and Best Business Company in the country during the Golden Globe Annual Awards for Business Excellence by the National Data Research Examiner and Marketing Services Inc., in partnership with the Philippines Best Companies.Com Inc., Sinag News Magazine, and Sining at Gabay ng Buhay Foundation Inc.