The Pitahaya, also known as the “dragon fruit“, contains antioxidants, mucilages, ascorbic acid and phenols; It is rich in vitamins C and B, and in minerals such as calcium, iron and phosphorus. Its consumption in a dehydrated form is growing in Europe and the United States, because being light and crunchy, it has become a must-have snack for consumers.
In 2019 Coopedragon Fruit Farm R.L. opted to encourage the cultivation, processing and commercialization of this food. Today, two years later, they offer the product nationally and export to the European continent and the United States.
He even recently opened a commercial premises in the Chorotega Market, thus increasing his clientele. “This was a good idea because the facilities have an excellent refrigeration system that allows us to keep the fruit and it is also a way to increase our sales in the national market,” said Alfredo Suárez, manager of the cooperative.
They plan to expand production
The cooperative, located in Pococí, has a 210-hectare farm, where they will initially plant 50 of them. During this year, they have managed to cultivate in 10. Coopedragon’s plan is to expand its production by creating its own plant and buying special machinery to process pitahaya. Specifically, they need to buy a freeze-drying machine that allows them to freeze and dehydrate the fruit, to preserve it without losing its nutritional properties.
“As it is a self-managed cooperative, we are requesting financing from the Permanent Commission of Self-managed Cooperatives (CPCA) for ¢ 550 million. This money will allow us to build our plant and buy the special machinery”, Suárez added.
Interest in good nutrition for children
The manager mentioned the plan to develop a chip-type product that can be distributed by the National Production Council (CNP), through the Institutional Supply Program (PAI). “In this way we would contribute with a good diet for the children in the school canteens. For example, 100 grams of dehydrated fruit would mean 250 grams of fresh fruit for a child,” said Suárez.
Another of the cooperative’s projects is to plant coconut and tubers, with the idea of industrializing them. Also, raise buffalo and create initiatives to develop rural tourism in the area where they are located.