Unite dragon fruit growers to strengthen industry governance and R&D capacity

Central Queensland University

  • Project code: PRJ-012776

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Saturday, February 27, 2021

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, August 31, 2022

  • National Priority: NEI - New and Emerging Industries - SM1


Australia’s dragon fruit industry had a turnover of about $2.25M in 2012, but due to the
size and geographic spread of the industry, there has been no further national level
update. In recent years, the domestic market demand for fresh dragon fruit has grown
rapidly with the average price increasing from $3/kg (2012) to $5/kg (2020). The
industry has rapidly expanded in Southeast Queensland (SEQ), where several larger
farms with around $1M annual turnover were established since 2015. More farms and
downstream value-adding industries are also under planning or testing in SEQ. In
contrast, the industry in the NT has experienced some contraction. This disparity
the dragon fruit industry is at the crossroad. If it is to expand, then the formation of an
industry association and the formation of an RD&E plan (being prepared in a separate
AgriFutures project Exotic Tropical Fruit Symposium 2020) are both essential.
This project aims to foster the establishment of an incorporated association of
Australian dragon fruit growers. Such a national-level association, which facilitates
communication and knowledge transfer within the industry, is essential to duplicate the
industry success in SEQ to NT. If this can be achieved, it is expected to increase fruit
production by 80% and strongly foster value-adding industries. This will support the
industry to expand to >$10M per annum threshold. The association will run an industry
stocktake and survey to update the status of the industry and promote communication
among growers across the nation. The association will also build an industry network
of stakeholders across the value chain to improve value-chain efficiency and develop
value-added products.
The project also aims to foster the association engagement with potential RD&E service
providers to build mutual understanding and the trust for future RD&E collaboration.
This will be achieved by collaboratively conducting two preliminary research cases
studies with CQUniversity, Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and
Trade (NTDITT), and Seawin Biotech Australia. With the support of the association,
researchers will quantify the potential impacts of imports on local dragon fruit production
and compile a growers’ guideline of major dragon fruit cropping issues (including pests,
diseases and disorders) in Australia.
This project will complement AgriFutures current project ‘Exotic Tropical Fruit
Symposium’ led by NT Farmers Association, which is developing the RD&E plan of
tropical fruits including dragon fruit. Our project, in another aspect, will focus on
improving industry governance and building RD&E capacity to prepare the dragon fruit
industry for collaborative RD&E in near future. NTDITT, the organisations
subcontracted to develop RD&E plan of tropical fruits is a key collaborator in this
project. The teams of the two projects will routinely exchange information to support
each other and assure the work would not duplicate. Hence, this project will add value
to the current investment by AgriFutures.


New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

Central Queensland University

Objective Summary

This project aims to establish Australian dragon fruit growers’ association to update the
current industry status, establish an industry network across the value-chain, and to
engage with potential RD&E service providers to build industry capacity and mutual
trust for future collaboration.