While the growth rate of Taiwan agriculture has declined over the past 20 years, the fruit industry has continued to develop. Playing a leading role among crops, the Taiwan fruit industry has helped farmers increase their farm income. However, faced with new challenges resulting from social and economic changes, on quality improvement and product diversification.
The fruits that are currently grown in Taiwan cover 50 genera and 200 species. And new varieties continue to be developed by local researchers or introduced from abroad. In 1989, the total fruit acreage was 219,230 ha and the total production was 2,788,327 m.t. Oranges, mangos, bananas, lichees, longans and melons are the important ones. Over the years, achievements have been made on the adjustments of harvest seasons and acreage expansion, thanks to the efforts of the research people and newly developed market information systems.
In 1989, per capita fruit availability was 108.4 kg, much higher than the 138 kg per family consumption in Japan. So there seems to be little room for increase in the future.
Fruit imports in 1989 amounted to 178,192 M.T. The prices of imported fruits were 60% higher than that of local fruits, mainly due to quality difference. During the same year, Taiwan exported 20,759 M.T. of fruits. About one-half of Taiwan’s bananas and 5% of oranges, pineapples, mangos, lichees and seedless water melons were exported.
Fruit marketing in Taiwan has undergone considerable changes in response to the changes in consumer demand. As consumers asked for more service and better quality, marketing costs have increased. In a bid to reduce the cost, the Chinese government has encourage farmers¡¦ organizations to conduct cooperative marketing and direct sales. In 1989, about 33% of the total fruit output was sold through cooperative marketing. The amount handled through direct sales was negligible. The factors which have hindered the development of cooperative marketing are I) special quality characteristics of fruits, 2) inefficient operation of the wholesale markets, 3) lack of management capability in most farmers’ organizations, 4) farmers¡¦ inertia in giving up traditional methods to handle fruits, 5) insuffivient market information.
As to the future development of Taiwan fruit industry, I would like to offer the following suggestions for reference. 1) We must have a clear picture about our future development. We need also to understand that quality and quantity development is closely related to their social and natural environments. 2) Integrated approach is needed in dealing with fruit production, shippment and marketing. Cooperative management and operations must be modernized and market-oriented. 3) The marketing system of fruits must be strengthened in such a way that no middle-men will receive unreasonable profits, no matter they are farmers¡¦ organizations or private merchants. 4) Let price reflect the demand and supply. A marketing system so organized will be beneficial to both fruit producers and consumers.||en_US|