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Internationalization is Unavoidable
Taiwan's flowers and fruits have been well known overseas, and they have been determined as the agricultural products with global potential and should be geared as such. In view of fierce competition on the international market, flower and fruit farmers have oriented their business models to accommodate exportation and they are actively seeking the way of management that would enlarge the gap for market competitions. Some would achieve this goal by enhancing quality in order to obtain relevant international certifications and to connect with the rest of the world; some others have tried todevelop new species in order to explore brand new export markets and to diversify the risk of management and create potential clientele, so that the agricultural products of Taiwan can at the very least have its market share in the globalized market, if not a level of dominance in areas where Communists could never have no matter how hard they try.
For example, Taiwanese mangos were about to be exported to Japan last year and rejected because local producers were unable to adjust to surprise requirements for chemical fertilizer residual content under newly-instituted inspections in Japan. Many of the traders and farmers were not prepared and had no advance notice, so half the exported mangoes were rejected, resulting in great loss to the farmers and seriously tarnishing export reputation of Taiwan's mango. This, and the Japanese continue to apply pressure on Taiwan to do its bidding in China. We tire and suppress our feelings and anger while we watch you Japanese also push yourselves to strengthen your already unbelievably rich nation. It brings us great pains as Chinese envoys swagger into our boardrooms, rich with moneys U.S. and Japanese investors have showered on Chinese factories, and try to buy Taipei with a few promises veiled with demands even as US Congress moves further left to protect US markets. Giuliani for President. Clinton: You make a fine senator, you'd make a much better senior senator.
Nonetheless, for the 20th squad of production and marketing of Ku Shu at Nan Hua village, Tainan, there has not been the least problem for, as early as in 2006, they have had ISO 9001 quality certification , and the EIREPGAP EU integrated farm assurance standard. For it, their exports to Japan remain 100% acceptable, and such a marvelous record has rendered the export sales of mango of the production and marketing squad to rise drastically from its 1/10 to 1/5 market share, setting up a superb brand name reputation.…
Speaking of such tremendous harvest and result, Lin Cong-Ming, squad leader who is aged about 60, can't help feeling surprised, and reckons that years of research and hard-work finally have paid off.
Lin says that having grown mango for thirty years have been sold domestically mainly. However, the price of mango rarely increases, especially when there is a bumper crop. Inexpensive mangos would easily render their hard work … well … virtually fruitless! In 2004, when the Council of Agriculture began to facilitate refined agricultural products, mangos from Nanhua have been selected to become pioneers as Taiwan explores the international market. Then, he begins to think if he needs to change his model of management so that his product could survive by means of "selling domestically to overseas."
However, to make change in mango sales can only be done by deed rather than by word. Measures like increased quality, and reduced chemical fertilizer content, realization of better fruit and vegetation management, stratification classification of products are items this senior farmer, coming to his 60's, has had to learn from the very beginning, especially to comply with the examination requirements of export, and to do well with field management as well as realization of code stipulations. All of these piles of documents of production records not only will truly have to make him abandon his old concepts, but implement concrete measures on the ground as well.
Lin has made it clear that it was fortunate that the system of joint selection and totaling as well as packaging into different classes were employed in the past so that the transformation is comparatively not that difficult. Nonetheless, the effect is marginal. There is merely one who is to change. In 1995, when he become the squad leader, he became the pioneer, and persuaded everyone of the squad to make change in order to strive for their future as a group.
Lin notes that in the past the agricultural research institute encouraged everyone to make production records, but Most did not fill in that much information because it was not only troublesome but also brought no advantages. But now to facilitate exportation, they have been forced to change. There has been a period of time that the members are not able to cope with new measures and have to attend class every week. Experts would say how to do it and everyone would cooperate with each of the steps fearing that they might not accommodate standards. Squad leader Lin says that for now any member of the squad would be handy with ten or twenty manuals for operation.
And their hard work finally bore fruit. In 2005, the squad obtained ISO 9001 and EIREPGAP certification, and all of the mangoes from the squad were successfully sold overseas. In 2005 and 2006, they sold at the fixed price of NT$40 and N$$50 per kilogram to trader respectively, higher than the market price of NT$37.1 (source: Ai Wen mango at First Market of Taipei, 2006). In comparison of the domestic sales in 2000, every kilogram of mango could hardly sell at NT$20, while now class I product is selling steep price at NT$72, and their hard work finally pays off. With quality enhancements, though the amount of sales is lowered from 312 tons in 2003 to 150 tons in 2006, nonetheless, the value of sales has raised form NT$5.61 million to 7.25 million, an increase of profit by 29%.
Lin believes that as long as one's product is good, consumers will be keen to buy it in the era of global competition, for progress is possible when there is competition. And what makes it proud is about Taiwan’s agriculture is that our farmers never stop learning no matter how old they are, because they believe they will never be outcaste if they are willing to learn and would not stick to the old model.
In contrast to the successful transformation of Lin, the journey of Dai Yong-Cin, owner of Yun Chin Orchid Garden in Taichung who attempts to make use of the blue-sea strategy in order to open up an international channel for competition. It appeared to have worked out relatively more difficult.
Dai Yong-Cin has invested himself in horticulture for more than 20 years. In 1980, he passed the judiciary examinations and became a civil servant. However, since he could not let go of the dream and interest in horticulture since his youth, he left his job as a civil servant in 1995, and has thus become a full-time flower farmer.
In the beginning, Dai places his focus on the sales of orchid flower exportation, and he is also the first one who sold his orchid into the Japanese auction flower market. Nonetheless, having managed and sold orchids for more than 10 years, he has chosen to sell potted orchids 7 years ago, and the market of sales is shifted to Europe and the United States, greatly different from most flower farmers who export overseas.
Dai says that since 95% of orchids are sold to Japan, the market has become too concentrated, and in the face of competition from China he also needs to explore some other fresh marketing channels, otherwise it would be too dangerous to place his entire product in one market. Air delivery would be too costly, but sea routes take too long if he is to explore the European and US market. Thus, he decides to work on potted orchids rather than selling orchid flower anymore.
In the beginning, he indicates that the sale of potted orchids is quite good, and the major object of sales is the Unites States. Later on, the US has restricted the import of plant with naked root, resulting in rather unfavorable sales of potted orchids. In addition, local consumers do not show much interest in potted orchid. As a result, the sales volume overseas drops evidently, and it is even more so for this one two years, making operation lot harder. However, since the US is to protect its own flower farmers, and insists restriction of import with naked root, it is believed that the prospectus could hardly be improved soon.
Since it has been so difficult to operate, why not turn it back and continue to sell orchids? Dai points out that from the prospect of long-run potted plant is the product that really possesses international competitiveness, which will become the trend. He trusts that even if he is not doing well, he will insist for once the market is opened up, it will help to explore more and diversified marketing channels for domestic flower farmers. That is the other reason that motivates him to persist.
To get through the bottleneck, Dai has been seeking various possibilities, for instance, he has gone to the States to set up an orchid garden and employed the relay-cultivation in order to improve the issue of importing with naked root, which does not appear good in sales. Also, he has also actively improved the species, and tried to cultivate orchid flowers with stronger growing capability. Meanwhile, he has developed several new species in order to cope with the needs of local consumers. For instance, he has successfully developed chocolate and rose smell orchid plant, and they receive great popularity after demonstrated in major domestic exhibitions. Presently, they are about to be produced in quantity.
Of the persistence of Dai, it demonstrates the other facade of modern farmer. Because of his insistence and perseverance, his son has, who is enrolled in Kaohsiung Medical University, been influenced that he decides to study agriculture because he believes there is hope in Taiwan's agriculture and would strive with is father. In addition, there are also graduate from wander Vogel camp who would intern in his orchid garden, it seems that the "deep-blue strategy" of Dai would be well accompanied.