Developing the Economic Sustainability and Viability of Value-added Products on Guam

Progress report for WRGR22-003

Project Type: Local Ed & Demo (formerly RGR)
Funds awarded in 2022: $99,376.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2025
Host Institution Award ID: G134-23-W9216
Grant Recipient: University of Guam
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Kuan-Ju Chen
University of Guam
Tanisha Aflague
College of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Guam
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Project Information


As agriculture continues to develop in the market, it becomes more recognized as more than just farming. Aside from production activities such as growing crops, it also involves processing and marketing activities such as safe handling of agricultural products and transforming them into value-added products. According to Marketing Resource Center (2020), value-added products are transformed from raw agricultural products. Like every other country, Guam experienced interruptions in the food supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the importance of locally produced foods regarding food security and sustainability. This involves utilizing locally grown products to produce viable value-added products, which can target market expansion and open up opportunities for more income and potential export opportunities for Guam. 

In the past few years, Guam has experienced tremendous growth in dragon fruit production, a high-value crop, by subsistence and commercial farmers. This project seeks to develop a dragon fruit association that will assist dragon fruit growers in producing, marketing, or selling their products. It also aims to educate safe handling methods aligned with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and food preservation. Research on market development will create marketing strategies tailored to Guam’s consumer demand for agricultural products and value-added products. Furthermore, this project can provide the capacity to access adequate food for subsistence in times of emergencies and promote sustainable viability for the agricultural community.

Project Objectives:

Objective 1: Develop and expand agricultural marketing channels.

To enhance the knowledge and sharpen the skills of local producers, farmers will be acquainted with key model strategies for (1) understanding the marketplace and customer needs, (2) designing a value-driven marketing strategy, (3) constructing an integrated marketing program, (4) engaging customers and developing customer loyalty, and (5) generating profits and establishing a strong corporate presence (Armstrong & Kotler, 2016).

Objective 2: A greater presence for value-added production and local food systems.

Developing a reputation for quality and extending the sales and distribution network for entrepreneurship,  an association for Dragon-Fruit Farmers will be inaugurated to promote its advantages of nutritional quality, sensory attributes, and storage stability, upon which value-added products, such as dragon fruit jelly, can be derived for easy storage and transportation.

Objective 3: Position local marketing with good agricultural, handling, and labeling practices.

Incorporating farm-business practices into marketing techniques involves handling the product, communicating between farmer-and-consumers, and crop diversity or specialization. Partnering with different organizations, discussions will include harvest and post-harvest handling, quality, service, and payment methods critical to production consistency and supply (Hall, 2002).

Objective 4: Market food processes and techniques to producers to expand consumer choices, foster food system stabilization, and extend the availability of seasonal produce.

Information placement will facilitate potential in marketable options for food processing and the impact on local food systems. This is an interlinking extension on the prior project objective (SW09-067) to market several advantages, including food safety, preserved nutritional value, consumer convenience and economies of scale, and diversity in seasonal availability (Van Boekel et. al, 2010, pp. 1217, para 2).


Located in the Western Pacific Ocean in the center of the Asia-Pacific region, the island of Guam has always been reliant on the import of commodities. Imported products include foods such as fruits, vegetables, and pastries. Unfortunately, for many years, the island’s import of foods and non-alcoholic beverages exceeds its exports, indicating a trade deficit in this specific commodity group. The agricultural industry in Guam has faced many adversities such as lack of natural resources, inclement weather such as typhoons, and the COVID-19 pandemic from which Guam’s farmers and farm workers remain resilient. However, another challenge that the industry faces is a lack of resources and support to strengthen the island’s agricultural marketing. This project explores potential opportunities to assist in Guam’s agriculture marketing development. This will offer many benefits to local producers on the island, such as strengthening the island’s food safety, expanding food preservation through value-added products, and the opportunity to earn more profits, which were identified as areas warranting additional studies in a previously completed Western SARE project (SW09-067) (Barber et al., 2012). It assisted in exploring market channels for Guam’s tourists for locally produced foods and developing the Guam Farmer Chef initiative that assisted in strengthening the diversity of enterprises for the island.

This study is connected to the previous project (SW09-067) aiming to improve Guam’s agricultural marketing by offering educational workshops that will (1) help prepare local producers for certifications in areas such as food labeling, (2) offer workshops that acquaint local producers with skills on food safety based on Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices, and (3) expand Guam’s farmers’ consumer base and their profitability by developing value-added products from locally produced foods, which can also open export opportunities for the island.


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Rynette Perez (Educator)
  • Mike Aguon (Educator)

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Provide trainings on proper post-harvest handling, storing, and shipping of dragon fruit

We aim to conduct trainings on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) to local farmers/producers (Obj. 3) in Fall 2024.


Adhering to Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) allows farmers to provide safe, high-quality produce items on the market, increasing the likelihood of retailers and consumers to purchase farmers’ produce and provide farmers with profit. Thus, evidence-based trainings from a certified instructor will be provided to local farmers. Topics will include but are not limited to harvesting procedures, washing/sanitation procedures, optimal storage conditions, transportation guidelines, and pest control procedures. Certificates will be provided to participants who successfully finish the trainings to provide credibility of their farming practices, thus improving the appeal of their products to local consumers and retailers.

Outcomes and impacts:

No outcomes/impacts to report – trainings not conducted yet.

Conduct market analysis of value-added dragon fruit products

We aim to conduct a market analysis of various dragon fruit value-added products to estimate their success on the market (Obj. 2) in Spring/Summer 2024.


When conducting workshops on value-added products for dragon fruit, it is important to establish whether the products will perform successfully on the market for the sake of the farmers’ and producers’ financial profits. Before the value-added product workshops are conducted, a market analysis of various developed value-added dragon fruit products will be conducted. A questionnaire/survey will be administered to at least 30 consumers which will show them value-added dragon fruit  products and ask them how likely they are to purchase or how much they will be willing to pay for these products. Collected data will be analyzed, and the recipes of the 5 value-added products that are projected to be most successful will be taught in the value-added products workshop.

Outcomes and impacts:

No outcomes/impacts to report – market analysis not conducted yet.

Provide workshops on creating and marketing value-added dragon fruit products

We aim to conduct workshops that teach local farmers/producers how to create and successfully market value-added dragon fruit products (Obj. 1, 2, 4) in Fall 2024.


Using the results of the previously conducted market analysis, this series of workshops will teach farmers/producers/small businesses how to make selected value-added dragon fruit products. This workshop will also serve to educate participants on crucial marketing strategies. Workshops will begin with an informative, engaging lecture that provides participants with easily comprehensible marketing strategies and tips (e.g., labeling, packaging, etc.) so they can maximize profit from their dragon fruit. Then, participants will join in a facilitated hands-on cooking demonstration paired with taste testing that will show them examples of value-added dragon fruit products and their potential appeal. Additionally, this hands-on cooking demonstration will also teach participants how to extend the shelf-life and availability of seasonal dragon fruit produce by presenting shelf-stable dragon fruit products.

Outcomes and impacts:
  • As of January 1, 2024, 4 value-added products (jam, jello, freeze-dried dragon fruit, and gummy bears) from dragon fruit have been developed.
  • No outcomes/impacts to report – workshops not conducted yet.

Educational & Outreach Activities

10 Consultations
3 On-farm demonstrations
1 Published press articles, newsletters
5 Tours
2 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

5 Extension
5 Researchers
3 Nonprofit
2 Agency
10 Farmers/ranchers
Education/outreach description:

We aim to provide at least 2 workshop/training sessions on each of the following topics:

  • Proper post-harvest handling, storing, and transporting of dragon fruit
  • Agricultural marketing strategies
  • Value-added product development

For the value-added product development workshop, a market analysis will be conducted prior to determining which value-added products will be demonstrated.

Learning Outcomes

28 Service providers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of project outreach
2 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
Project outcomes:

August 24, 2023 - International Agricultural Research Exchange Symposium conducted by the Grant PI and Co-PI at the University of Guam. The topics include food science (e.g., dragon fruit value-added products), food chemistry, crop production, cultivation management, tissue culture, plant pathology, hibiscus sabdariffa, farmer/producer stress, etc. The participants include 15 students (undergraduate and graduate agriculture majors) and 10 faculty members from the University of Guam and the National Pingtung University of Science & Technology in Taiwan, as well as 3 local farmers. The purpose of this symposium is to share research ideas and engage farmers with field specialists in food science and agricultural production.

September 4, 2023 - Local farm visit conducted by the Grant PI. 10 students (undergraduate and graduate agriculture majors) and 3 faculty members from the University of Guam and the National Pingtung University of Science & Technology in Taiwan will visit 3 local dragon fruit farms located in Inalåhan (Southern Guam), Yigo (Northern Guam), and Dededo (Central Guam). The purpose of this visit is to establish relationships with dragon fruit farmers and discuss current value-added product development.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.