ORDINARILY, dragon fruit is not available in the Philippines at this time of the year (December to April) because the nights are long and dragon fruit will not bear fruit during such season.
However, Ms. Edita Dacuycuy, the Dragon Fruit Lady of Ilocos Norte, has a way of tricking her plants so that they will flower and bear fruit during off-season. She does that by lighting her plants for three hours every night from 7 to 10 p.m.
Last November 24, she started providing electric light to 465 posts of her full grown dragon fruit. By January 14 this year, she harvested the first few fruits which she sent to Germany for exhibit.
Last January 28, she harvested 86 big fruits which were sent to her stall at the Horticulture 2014 in Quezon City.This is the garden show at the Quezon Memorial Circle (January 24 to February 3, 2014).
She expects to harvest more every two weeks. Harvesting is expected to last till the end of April. By that time, natural flowering of the dragon fruit would have started.
Dragon fruit is considered photoperiodic. That means its flowering is affected by the length of darkness. When the nights are long, it will not flower.
It pays to produce off-season fruits, whether it is dragon fruit or whatever else. That also holds true with other crops like vegetables. In the case of Ms. Dacuycuy’s off-season dragon fruit, it is selling at P200 per kilo at the garden show. About three pieces make a kilo or a bit heavier.
Will she make money in off-season dragon fruit? How much does it cost to light the plants. Well, she estimates that lighting each post for off-season production will cost about P10. That will be more than covered by the increase in price of a kilo of off-season fruits.