Development of a Sustainable Polyculture and Marketing System for Exotic Tropical Fruits

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $156,800.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $76,200.00
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Richard Bowen
Department of Nat Res and Envir Mngt

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general tree fruits


  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, cover crops, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, marketing management, value added
  • Pest Management: physical control, mulching - vegetative, weeder geese/poultry
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, employment opportunities

    Proposal abstract:


    a. The project will develop and demonstrate a sustainable production system for polyculturing up to 12 tropical fruit species. The co-op and its members will be shown how to develop markets for new products, both fresh and processed. A Field Guide for Tropical Fruit Production will be developed to educate producers on production and post-harvest practices. Workshops on horticultural and post-harvest practices will prepare producers to develop new enterprises based on exotic tropical fruits.

    b. Chefs and produce buyers will be given information on the availability of exotic species of tropical fruits, their potential uses. Free samples will be provided initially to introduce the new varieties and in later cooperative efforts to develop uses and value-added products for the various fruits. A Guidebook for Chefs will assist chefs in utilizing the selected fruits in menu items.

    c. Markets for the exotic tropical fruits will be developed during the project. In-store displays, “Fruit of the Month” calendars, posters of the 12 fruits, and take-home cards will be developed to educate consumers on the handling the fruit and their uses. Information on direct and wholesale markets will be disseminated in workshops. A fully developed website will be useful for producers, chefs, produce buyers, and consumers.

    d. The Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative’s 300 members, covering over 1,000 acres, is the initial target audience. The project aims to assist the Cooperative in becoming the marketing agent for tropical fruits produced by its members.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify 12 species of exotic tropical fruits that have a high potential for market acceptance throughout the year.

    2. Develop and demonstrate a prototype polyculture tropical fruit production system based on sustainable production technologies.

    3. Develop direct and wholesale markets for both fresh fruit and processed products.

    4. Assist the Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative in expanding into new activities, including the long-term marketing of the fruits developed in this project.

    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.