New Products, New Markets: Dragon Fruit in Ecuador
Expanding incomes in Asian countries and changes in fresh-fruit value chains have created an important niche for producers of dragon fruit. Ecuadorean producers have responded and taken advantage of these evolving opportunities and market dynamism. By customizing their products to the specific demands of target markets and complying with the standards imposed by modern buyers, Ecuadorian exporters of dragon fruit demonstrate how challenges related to and opportunities in agri-food markets evolution can be met. This study documents the development of the dragon fruit market in Ecuador, with a special emphasis on the analysis of its value chain. The study additionally identifies and analyzes the main drivers of the success of the production and exports of the fruit and examines the main challenges and needs for improved public policies to promote sustainable growth of the sector. Findings are complemented with interviews conducted with the principal actors in the Ecuadorian dragon fruit industry, as well as a case study that involves several relatively recently formed dragon fruit-producing companies in the Amazon region of the country.