"Recent advances and best practices to improve productivity and enhance market access for tropical fruits"


Trade of tropical fruits has expanded from a previously narrower portfolio of fruits to include a wider preference of promising major and minor tropical fruits. Major tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple and avocado, and minor ones such as jackfruit, durian, lychee, longan, rambutan, mangosteen, passion fruit and guava are becoming increasingly popular as they add diversity to the total tropical fruit trade. At the same time, tropical fruits like avocado are now accepted as the ‘new staples’ of modern day diets, favored especially among the millennials and health conscious crowd.  Present-day consumers are driven by the need for healthy diet, transparency, food safety and high valued products, in addition to adequate consideration for environment protection and sustainability, resulting in vast opportunities for the creation of new markets.

The past decade has seen substantial strides in the development of new innovations in agriculture such as ‘AgriTech, ‘Smart Agriculture’ and ‘Precision Agriculture’, which involve integrating technology into farms and other components of the value chain to enhance productivity, reduce waste, improve pests and diseases management, maintain quality, prolong shelf life and to sustain consumer demand. Along with producing and adjusting to what the market dictates, this adoption is pertinent to the established narrative that food production has to complement global increase in population.  Just around the corner are emerging technologies as depicted in Agriculture 4.0 such as blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) which purportedly can boost the industry, are also available to be adopted by practitioners.

Paradoxically, even with these innovations and technologies, there are challenges in particular for smallholders in developing nations. Developing nations account for about 98 percent of total production of tropical fruits, with production activities often undertaken within the context of smallholdings lacking capacity and facing a myriad of issues in terms of assets, resources, and knowledge. Generally new technologies are adopted by big commercial producers, as the high cost incurred is a limitation to smallholders. This has led to setbacks and barriers for meeting strict trade and market requirements, restricting market participation. Compounded by the impact of climate change and changes in regulatory contexts of trade, tropical fruit producing countries are facing great pressure to step up their game or risk being left out in the competitive global trade environment. However, besides ‘high tech’ solutions, there are also alternatives of innovations and best practices that are affordable and can be adopted by both big and small players. 

Improving infrastructure, strengthening capacities for new knowledge and compliance, wider adoption of GAP, supportive policies and increased investments, form the recipe for enhancing productivity and market accessibility.

The existing knowledge and technological divide between big commercial players and smallholders should be minimized by encouraging the scaling up of best practices and advancements for transformation to take place. The International Symposium on Tropical Fruits (ISTF) 2019 aims to achieve this by assembling a quorum of experts from the two ends of the spectrum and other industry stakeholders for an intellectual discourse towards positioning the tropical fruit industry to embrace an ever-changing future.

  1. Assemble the latest scientific research, technology developments, best practices, and product innovations;
  2. Discuss how the latest research can contribute towards improving the market access of tropical fruits;
  3. Assess the marketing opportunities of tropical fruits;
  4. Discuss policies that affect the tropical fruit industry; and
  5. Provide a venue for information sharing among participants from different countries

Academia, research and development institutes, extension workers, government representatives, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil societies, producers and cooperatives, agri-entrepreneurs, and the private sector.

  1. Focus and policies on tropical fruit development
  2. Biotechnology and breeding
  3. Pests and diseases management
  4. Farm practices and recent developments to improve productivity
  5. Markets and trade
  • All accepted papers will be published and indexed in the Symposium Proceedings
  • The Symposium Proceedings shall be submitted to CAB Abstracts for indexing
  • The Symposium Proceedings will be published with an e-ISBN
  • Organizers: International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)
  • Partners: Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute (FAVRI) and the Southern Horticultural Research Institute (SOFRI)
  1. Mr. Yacob Ahmad (Head) - TFNet (Advisor/Board Expert, TFNet)
  2. Dr. Hardiyanto (Director, Indonesian Center for Horticultural Research Development (ICHORD), Indonesia)
  3. Mr. Shalendra Prasad  (Principal Research Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji)
  4. Mr. Bob Williams (External Expert, Australia)
  5. Dr. Ellina Mansyah (Head, Indonesian Tropical Fruit Research Institute (ITFRI), Indonesia)
  6. Dr. Nguyen Quoc Hung (Director General, Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute (FAVRI), Vietnam)
  7. Dr. Chunyu Li (Vice Director, Institute of Fruit Research, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China)
  8. Prof. Dr. Jingtair Siriphanich (Kasetsart University, Thailand)
  9. Dr. Annamalai Sivapragasam (Regional Director, CABI-Southeast Asia)


International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet)
Serdang, Malaysia
Tel: +603 89416589
Fax: +603 89416591
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