A short while ago, the Council of Agriculture (COA) received a report from the Economic Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New Zealand that the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries has announced import health standards for the export of Oncidium orchid cut flowers from Taiwan to New Zealand, which came into effect on April 9. The COA proposed market entry for Oncidium orchid cut flowers to New Zealand as early as 2003. In the intervening period, through the SPS Joint Management Committee created under the ANZTEC (Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation) and through the Taiwan-New Zealand Economic and Trade Consultative Conference, after 15 years of effort devoted to consultations and provision of data, and with the New Zealand side coming to Taiwan in November of 2016 to conduct onsite inspection and verification of production management, field pest control, export phytosanitary inspection, and product traceability procedures for Taiwan’s Oncidium orchid cut flowers, there was finally a breakthrough of New Zealand’s SPS obstacles, successfully opening up the New Zealand market for the export of Oncidium orchid cut flowers from Taiwan.
Smoothly developing New Southbound markets for Oncidium orchid cut flowers through strengthening management of pests and strengthening product traceability mechanisms
The COA points out that in Taiwan Oncidium orchids can be produced year-round. The cut flower production season is concentrated in May and June. Because the Oncidium orchid is well-developed in shape, beautiful, and elegant, it is also called the “dancing lady” orchid. At present about 80% of Oncidium orchid cut flowers are exported, with the biggest export market being Japan. Obtaining of New Zealand’s agreement today to export them will help to diversify the risk of excessive market concentration and providing new market opportunities to orchid businesses of Taiwan at the same time.
The COA states that based on the stipulations of New Zealand’s announcement of import health standards for Oncidium orchid cut flowers, these flowers must conform to the export work plan mutually agreed upon by Taiwan and New Zealand. That is, they must be produced in registered orchid gardens, prevention work against harmful pests (including thrips, mites, and scale insect) and disease must be complete, and they must be packaged by grade at an approved packaging site. In addition, there must be records kept for the whole process from production through export, so that the Oncidium orchid cut flowers are traceable. Moreover, they must undergo export phytosanitary inspection and sample testing on the basis of requirements from the New Zealand side. In order to facilitate exports as soon as possible, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) of the COA will work together with industry groups and domestic experts on harmful plant organisms and diseases to research and produce a draft work plan. This will be followed by completing discussion and signing of this work plan with New Zealand.
Building a systematized management model to upgrade the quality of Oncidium orchid cut flowers
In Taiwan, Oncidium orchid cut flowers are mainly cultivated in simple screen-houses, and quality varies depending upon differences in management methods. We should improve systematic management for the work of producing, harvesting, packaging, and exporting Oncidium orchid cut flowers in order to upgrade the quality of the cut flowers and to conform to the phytosanitary requirements of importing countries. In coordination with new phytosanitary measures adopted by Australia in March of this year, the COA’s Agriculture and Food Agency and BAPHIQ have already guided businesses to build a systematized management method for Oncidium orchids. Relevant measures can also be applied to the export market in New Zealand to ensure the mitigation of harmful pests about which New Zealand is concerned and to conform to New Zealand’s phytosanitary requirements. The COA and its subordinate administrative and research units will continue to work with businesses to further raise the standard of Oncidium orchid cultivation in Taiwan and build a quality image for Oncidium orchids as we work hand in hand to market Taiwan’s beautiful and elegant Oncidium orchids to the world.