Can Yucatan grow more pitahaya, or dragonfruit, as it is known in some countries?
An academic research paper says yes, and that the idea is worth exploring because pitahaya is far more profitable than chiles and citrus and other crops grown here.
The Autonomous University of Chapingo study on the viability of pitahaya cultivation on the Yucatan Peninsula highlights the importance of irrigation systems in the region’s fields.
The federal and some state governments, and farmers themselves, have already tried to promote the proper management and commercialization of pitahaya through research and teaching centers such as the Yucatan Peninsula Regional University Center.
Pitahaya grows wild in 20 states in Mexico, although it is only grown commercially in Tabasco, the Yucatan Peninsula and Mixteca Poblana in Puebla.
The crop is a good option for developing rural societies, given the growing international demand for pitahaya. Its profit margin is greater than that of more traditional crops in Mexico, the study states.
According to the research, the great potential of this crop can only be fully exploited with the incorporation of irrigation systems and the application of growth regulators to advance or delay flowering and ripening. Research programs, the establishment of phenological orchards and smart varietal selections can also contribute to healthy crops.