Before Edita Dacuycuy became the Dragon Fruit Queen of the Philippines she was just a worried mum trying to take care of her daughter.
The Queen of Hearts
Edita’s agriculture journey started with her daughter, Kate, who has cerebral palsy. She was struggling to find a therapeutic solution for constipation. The daughter of a staff member mentioned dragon fruit was an excellent cure of constipation and they decided to try it.
The dragon fruit worked immediately, relieving Kate’s constipation. The family started planting more dragon fruits in their backyard – quite a change from the ornamental plants such as orchids they would normally plant.
Organic business growth
Soon enough, neighbours were asking about the new addition to their garden, and Edita explained the dragon fruit was to cure her daughter’s constipation problems.
It seemed Kate was not the only person to suffer from constipation. The family decided to dedicate 1-hectare of land to create a dragon fruit plantation. With that 1-hectare, they were able to help more people in need. They’ve also been active in educating people on the benefits of dragon fruit: from local communities to the national level.
Making dragon fruit accessible and affordable
Edita’s goal is to bring the dragon fruit to everyone’s table, by making it accessible and affordable. This is a change in thinking for them, as when they first started the plantation, they were focused only on the health benefits dragon fruit could provide.
A first step in this journey was to send their daughter to learn more about the management of dragon fruit from a leading dragon fruit farmer in Thailand. With the help of the Department of Agriculture, they visited the farm, published a story and helped kickstart the growth of the dragon fruit industry.
Expanding dragon fruit production in the Philippines
Edita’s dream is to continue raising awareness of dragon fruit in the Philippines:
“We have a lot of barren land. Dragon fruit 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 dragon fruit industry.”