The Blue Ocean Strategy of Taiwanese Agriculture


    With the trend toward natural health, bamboo charcoal has become a popular product with multiple purposes from decoration to food material, available in organic shops or supermarkets. And bamboo charcoal manufacture can be one of the typical representatives of innovative agriculture in Taiwan in these years. Its estimated yearly output value is NT$ 1,200,000,000 at present and an overall tendency of growth. General Secretary of Eco-Carbon Development Association of Taiwan, Chen Wun-ci, believes that with its filtering and dialysis characteristics, it is possible to have an unlimited

bamboo charcoal products
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    development in bamboo charcoal application on medical health care with a potential of hundred billion output values. The industry, government and academic all put a great expectation on the "Black Diamond."

    The excessive needs of consumers, however, have resulted in uneven qualities and great price differences of bamboo charcoal products in the market. And the inability of local concerns to prevent imported bamboo charcoal products of poor quality has caused a customers to lose faith in the overall quality for said products.

    As a result, since the promotion called "Transformation and Revitalization Project for Bamboo Industry" in 2002, COA has allowed bamboo charcoal products to be listed as CAS-certified Forestry Products to ensure the public will be able to identify bamboo charcoal products of high quality and to allow them to stand from competitively priced knock offs imported from China, Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

    Since the accomplishment of 5 bamboo charcoal products by 4 manufacturers with the assistance from Forestry Bureau in 2004, there are 53 manufacturers taking assistance with 112 products developed till now, including 7 categories: textile fabric, construction material, food, medical care, environmental improvement, music instruments, and electronic components, along with another 12 high-efficiency production and examining equipments. Also, 7 manufacturers are certificated by CAS Forestry Products.

bamboo charcoal products
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    The Association of Promotion of CAS premium Agricultural Product indicates that appraised manufacturers of certified CAS bamboo charcoal and bamboo vinegar, must meet certain standards on production operating environment, hardware, material, procedure, quality, sanitary, storage management and so on. Meanwhile, to provide the customer bamboo charcoal products of safety and high quality, on the packing they need to indicate product information, like quality level, suggested purpose, detailed type and origin of material bamboo, instruction, and announcement, etc.

    People may wonder why be so strict on safety requirement for bamboo charcoal products if we don’t eat them. CAS Association explains that a complex chemical reaction, including pyrolysis, re-polymerization may occur to the bamboo through high temperature charring, producing various complex compounds, among whis is tar, which is a carcinogenic. And products made with different temperatures have different purposes. As a result, the heating procedure of products must meet safety standards, or they may do unnecessary harm to the human body. This is the main advantage of CAS Bamboo Charcoal in competing with other low-priced imported products.

    Except for the quality improvement, with the hard work, our latest technique of bamboo charcoal development has

bamboo charcoal products
Photo courtesy of Lacoya

created great additional values. For example, the development of bamboo charcoal thermos mug at Nantou Se Shuei Bamboo Charcoal Workroom has overwhelmed the achievement in Japan, where the bamboo charcoal industry is 20 years ahead.

     In addition, another innovation is the development of Nano Bamboo Charcoal Yarn by Taiwan Paiho. With the excellent ability to keep warmth, deodorize, fight bacteria and to advance blood circulation, numerous cooperation proposals from the western industries have appeared one after another, such as, GOTEX. Furthermore, Paiho had a marvelous performance in various international exhibitions and found a new standpoint in the world. Statistically, Bamboo charcoal Yarn has an output value of NT$ 600,000,000, providing a business benefit of NT$ 2,000,000,000 for Taiwan Textile Industry.

    For the achievement of bamboo charcoal in innovative agriculture, professor of Department of Business Management, NCU, Bie Lian-Di says that the development of M-type society, increasing property gap, and extremely opposite consumption habits has restricted the development of agriculture products. Therefore, the consequential orientation of intensive agriculture is to produce products of high quality, safety and satisfaction, such as production records and associated certification as the customer required. However, with a belief that it is difficult to be the unique leader in the world on agricultural technique development because of the technique availability, she concludes that only with more applicable development can Taiwan's agriculture obtain more fruit from the innovation tree.