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COA promoting Taiwan produced high quality fruits


With good weather bringing Taiwan a large amount of summer fruits harvest, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has adopted a series of marketing measures to stabilize prices, and has been urging the public to buy high quality and fresh local produced fruits.

According to the Council, a variable of summer fruits, such as pineapples, guavas, pears and lemons have reached their peak production recently, resulting an increase in market supplies. Officials are monitoring daily fruit market prices and making an effort to keep prices stable. Should a glut cause prices to fall, the pricing adjustment mechanism will be immediately implemented, along with sales promotions, government procurement, product processing, cold storage or disposal, depending on the type of fruit involved.

The price of pineapples, for instance, bounced back to NT$14.8 per kg July 15 from NT$8.8 at the end of June, which was mainly attributed to farmers' associations procuring 229 metric tons of secondary qrade fruit for processing.

Meanwhile, the price of guavas rose to NT$10.5 per kilo July 15 from NT$7.5 per kilo June 26 following the procurement of 80 metric tons of fruit for processing.

Through a variety of initiatives, the COA has been guiding fruit farmers on how best to promote their products, such as processing guavas for juice and dehydrated snack products, as well as providing counseling services for farmers to develop products made from lemons, such as essential oil, throat drops, vinegar and other health care products.

It has also been seeking initiatives for promoting freshly harvested pears, including plans to hold local promotion activities, create a sales platform and expand marketing channels for enterprises and groups to place orders.

Between January and July this years, the amount of high quality pears sold was 26,000 kg, with another 9,900 tons in cold storage to stablize the pear price.

In addition, the COA has been making major efforts to help fruit exporters promote those produts abroad. As a result, an amount of 19.527 tons of fresh fruit worth US$26.7 million exported in the first six months of 2009, 60.8 percent and 28.1 percent increase respectively compared to last year's 12.143 tons and US$20.84 million, according to COA figures.

The volume of Taiwanese fruits exports to Japan, China, Hong Kong, the U.S. and Canada were dramatically higher between January and June than during the same period of last year, with pineapple exports up 91.7 percent, mangoes up 60.9 percent, lychees up 478.7 percent, oranges up 139.3 percent and sugar-apples up 507.9 percent. Taiwanese fruits are exported mainly to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, the U.S. and Canada markets.

To balance supply and demand, as well as to avoid excessive concentrations of fruit in any particular area, the COA has mapped out the total production acreage for each type of fruit and has set growth quotas on 19 crops considered sensitive, including bananas, pineapples and watermelons, etc, which  planted on reported farmland leased from Taisugar Company.

In order to monitor the sensitive crop cultivation acreage, a system by farmers adopted for the 2007- 2008, was ineffective due to the farmers' low report rate.

In order to estimate correctly the production amount of crops, PDAs with GPS function were then introduced and used to conduct a survey of the total cultivation acreage for sensitive crops, which allowed the gathering of more accurate data for use in production and marketing initiatives in the future.