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Taiwan, Australia partner to tap into global lychee market

台、澳合作全年種植荔枝 進軍國際市場

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Taiwan and Australia are to work together growing quality lychees year-round, a move expected to add value to the tropical fruit for which Taiwan possesses advanced cultivation techniques, said Chang Jer-way, senior horticulturist at the Chiayi Agricultural Experiment Branch under the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) on Friday. The idea is to take advantage of the complementary climates in the two countries to extend the short lychee production season, which has led to demand exceeding supply.


Under a memorandum of understanding signed last year between the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and TARI, the lychees will be transplanted in Queensland, where the weather pattern is very similar to that of southern Taiwan, where lychees are grown.


“We hope to create a year-round supply chain of Taiwanese lychees through cooperation with a country in the southern hemisphere, and perhaps apply that model to other fruits,” Chang said.


This is the first time that Taiwan has experimented with this business model in fruit production, and if the partnership works out, Taiwan could profit through royalties and elevate its global profile as a high-quality lychee exporter, according to Chang.


The project is highly anticipated by Australia as well, said Catherine Raper, representative of the Australian Office in Taipei. The partnership with Taiwan complements Australia’s own national interests, Raper said, noting that it is the first time Australia has launched this type of agricultural cooperation with other countries, too.


According to TARI, Taiwan grows about 90,000 tonnes of lychees a year, mostly from May to July. While they cost around NT$40 (US$1.30) per kilogram at the retail level in Taiwan, they can cost around NT$100 per kilo in other countries, presenting a good export opportunity for Taiwanese producers of the fruit.


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