Increasing Marketable Production of Exotic Tropical Fruit with Protective Covering

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2002: $12,850.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Ken Love
Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general tree fruits


  • Animal Production: preventive practices
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance, risk management
  • Pest Management: chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, physical control, prevention
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, social networks, sustainability measures


    For hundreds of years throughout most of Asia, farmers have been covering fruit with paper either to
    protect their appearance or to increase the time the fruit would be on the tree thus making it sweeter. In
    some locations the bags are used for protection from various pests.

    Currently there are over 3000 types of bags manufactured in Japan alone. In addition to differences in
    size, the bags vary in the amount of light being transmitted to the fruit, color of paper, wax coatings and
    chemicals impregnated in the paper. (.05% daiazinon is the most common). The bags all have a small
    wire imbedded at the top in order to facilitate the wrapping process. There are slits in the bottom so that
    any rainwater can drain out.

    The bags we used for this test were made in Niigata Japan where they are used primarily on apples,
    asian pears, loquat, peaches, grapes and mango. Bags are used to control ripening time, for desired
    coloration and for pest control. The company works directly with growers as well as wholesalers to find
    the best bag for a particular crop. The company recommended the types of bags tested after input from
    Hawaii growers and a tour of Big Island farms.

    Members of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, West Hawaii chapter,
    Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative and Kona Young Farmers, participated in a number of bagging tests
    to determine the time to bag various fruit.

    Fruit chosen to test were loquat, White sapote, Mango, Lychee, Figs
    and Rambutan. Some collaborators preformed additional tests on abiu, pineapple, strawberry guava,
    tomato, zucchini, and eggplant.

    Weather patterns had an effect on which fruit were chosen for more
    extensive testing. As it was an extremely poor season for mango,
    we choose to concentrate more on abiu.

    In all cases, we found the bags very effective in pest control.
    Other advantages in using the bags were for coloration and
    length of time the fruit could stay on the tree which in turn
    increased its value because of better coloration and having
    the fruit available "off season". Unexpected benefits were drastically reduced -time it takes to inspect and cull.

    Using the protective bags also helped to create markets
    for fruit which is not usually found in stores as it
    is almost always unmarketable due of insect infestation
    or bird damage. Loquat, white sapote and abiu are examples
    of fruit what show great market potential with the use of the
    bags. Marketable Lychee increased dramatically with bag use
    as did the value per pound. Benefits with other tropical fruit
    are tremendous but more extensive testing is needed to
    determine the best types of bags to be used on mango,
    figs and guava.

    Results of the testing was presented to an International Fruit
    Growers' conference held in October of 2002. A display of
    bags and results are also put on display each Thursday
    at a farmers market held by the Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative.
    Results are also posted on the web site,

    We believe that as farmers adopt the use of the protective bags,
    the value of their crop will increase both from quality and quantity.
    Sales of the bags should help the Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative
    increase equity for their members. Increased availability of the unusual fruit will help with consumer
    awareness in developing extended markets
    for farmers choosing to greater diversify what they grow.

    Use of the bags enables farmers to increase production while
    staying chemical and pesticide free in what they grow and bring to market thus promoting good stewardship of the land.


    see Summary

    Project objectives:

    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of using protective bags on tropical fruit in order
    to increase production and quality as well as to develop new markets for Hawaii. Results were
    measured as to both economic impact via market development and the horticultural value of using
    protective fruit wrapping as an alternative to chemical treatment.

    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.