China's appetite for Taiwan pineapples grows

The increased demand has led to an expansion of domestic pineapple production

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Pingtung golden diamond pineapples have become a hot commodity in China, and the increased demand for the fruit has led to an increase in domestic production.

The impact of the increased sales in China is that the price per jin (600g) is NT$2 more than last year, according to a UDN report. The demand from China stems from the belief that Taiwanese golden diamond pineapples offer the best quality and flavor. The increased pineapple exports come after overall agricultural exports to China fell 19.4 percent last year, though the value of the exports only declined 9.4 percent, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).

To meet demand, which increased 50.7 percent in 2016 per COA data, domestic pineapple production has expanded to about 4,000 hectares. However, last year’s typhoons reduced overall production. With the larger growing capacity, however, the effect on prices was minimal.

There is currently about 10,000 hectares of farmland in Taiwan dedicated to pineapples, 4,000 hectares of which are in Pingtung County, primarily in Jiadong Township.

Last month, the price per jin was NT$18 and has risen to NT$20 currently. At an average cost of NT$50 per pineapple, farmers are seeing a profit of more than NT$20.

Due to the warmer winter, pineapple crop yields are expected to increase with improved quality this year as the growing season began last month, according to a China Times report. Exports of the fruit are expected to reach 2,000 tons, up from 1,300 last year. About 10 percent of Pingtung pineapples are sold domestically with the Japan still dominating the export market despite China’s increased interest in purchasing the fruit in the last five years.