The dragonfruit industry in Hainan's Dongfang is thriving

By / HICN / Updated: 21:49,18-October-2021

With nearly 58,000 hectares of flat, fertile agricultural land, this city in Hainan has a complete irrigation system fed by 3 large and 38 small- and medium-sized reservoirs, Dongfang's unique tropical characteristics are of huge benefit in the efficient production of high-quality agricultural goods. With numerous leading provincial and national agricultural enterprises settling in Dongfang and no other municipality or county in the province having quite so much in the way of special agricultural industries, the county is famous both on and off island as a "food basket" production and supply base.

Pillar industries include red dragonfruit (or pitaya) with nearly 4,000 hectares planted, 14,000 hectares of mangoes, and around 6,500 hectares of sweet corn. 

Mixing corporate farming with smallholdings, Dongfang also produces cigar tobacco, pineapples, passionfruit, sage fruit, sweet potatoes, peanuts and morning glory peppers.

The pitaya orchards of Dongfang—and, in particular, the North Latitude Eighteen Degrees Company—have been recognized at the national level as a special agricultural product. 

The varietal grown in Hainan traces it's origins back to Mexico. A combination of years of cultivation and trials on the part of local seed breeders and a natural environment which boasts 2700 hours of sunshine per year has resulted in an extremely sweet end product. 

At a shade under 1,400 hectares, over a third of the dragonfruit planted in Dongfang is grown on one of North Latitude Eighteen Degrees'  seven planting sites. Helping contribute to Dongfang's ability to call itself the largest dragonfruit production base on Hainan Island, they have an annual production of about 36,000 tons of fruit. 

Adhering to the use of environmentally friendly approaches and “green” planting methods in order to ensure high quality fruit along with the application of mature off-season planting techniques, North Latitude is able to harvest dragonfruit year round. 
As one of the county's leading agricultural enterprises, they are also actively involved in poverty alleviation work with recognition for their work in this and other fields including the Provincial Poverty Alleviation Office's giving them the title of "Leading Poverty Alleviation Enterprise", the Provincial Department of Agricultural giving them the titles "Provincial Tropical Crop Standard Demonstration Park", "Provincial Modern Agricultural Industrial Park", and "Top Ten Agricultural Product Marketer", and their being awarded the "Provincial Shared Farm Project" qualification.

In the future, and in order to further Dongfang's overall development, North Latitude has plans to improve the integration of their shared farm projects with beautiful countryside initiatives and rural/urban logistics.

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