Australian dragon fruit farmers have formed their own growers' association, intent on tackling a range of issues including the rise of overseas imports. Grower and founding member of the Dragon Fruit Growers Association (DFGA) Jim Hoa Yang Li said the industry was enjoying increased demand, but the ‘increasing quantity’ of imported fruit was a concern. He said: "What worries local growers is the marketing … consumers don't seem to realise they're buying imported fruit."
Dragon fruit from Vietnam has been coming into Australia since 2017 and the federal government is now considering whether to allow dragon fruit imports from the Philippines. "The Philippines' dragon fruit industry is a growing industry, increasing production from 256 to 1,462 tons between 2012 and 2017.
Remi De Vos manages a farm near Darwin, growing dragon fruit and mangoes. He said the rise of imports was a challenge, but his farm was now focusing on a new yellow variety of dragon fruit. "Our fruit was getting undercut by the Vietnamese product, so to try to get back into the market and get our share back, we knew we had to try something different," he said. "So we've tampered with some of the fruit, and now we've got this yellow variety to mix it up a bit. They're a bit more 'citrusy', they have more of a lemonade taste and are quite flavoursome."
De Vos is nearing the end of his first commercial harvest of the yellow dragon fruit. "It's been our first season of being able to send [yellow dragon fruit] to the markets," he said. "So far we can't complain, we're getting a decent crop … and we're planting more with another 200 to 300 plants in the ground."