Dragon Fruit from Dominican Republic

There are few edible treats as striking as the Pitahaya, more commonly known as the Dragon Fruit. A delicious cactus bearing common in Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

One look at its color and shape, and anyone can guess how the fruit may have gotten its name; the Khmer(Cambodian) name sror kaa neak, literally translates to dragon scale, while the Thai version of the name for the fruit translates to dragon crystal.

- I have always felt that the fruit looks very similar to a fireball -

The Dragon Fruit has gained much popularity in recent years, due in part to its nutritional attributes; low in calories, no cholesterol, no saturated fat, no trans fat, high in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and also high in fiber.

However, the fruit is considered a rare find in most cities, usually confined to Asian themed markets, and very pricey. Depending on the size of the fruit you can expect to pay between $5 and $8, for just one fruit.

The availability of dragon fruit for consumers in large global cities has prompted an economic opportunity for the Dominican Republic, where the government has decided to set up a programme to promote the production of dragon fruit throughout the country.

This, the latest effort from the Medina administration in providing economic boosts to several agri-industries, including; chocolate, honey, pineapples and several others.

Speaking at a press conference, agriculture minister Luis Ramón Rodríguez said, that the Agriculture Ministry has approached the country’s Banco Agrícola to secure sufficient funding to initiate a pilot project of this crop in two zones of the country, which will serve to accumulate experience and later replicate it nationally.
Images: agricultura.gob.do