Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui to produce wagyu beef

Taiwanese wagyu will be for sale within 3 years

Former President Lee Teng-hui.

Former President Lee Teng-hui. (AP photo)

Japanese Black cattle or kuroge (photo courtesy of Japanexperterna.se)

Japanese Black cattle or kuroge (photo courtesy of Japanexperterna.se) (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Within three years, consumers will be able to buy Japanese “wagyu” (和牛) beef produced in Taiwan on a farm rented by former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), reports said Thursday.

The 94-year-old left the presidency in 2000 and has since then occasionally commented on politics and made foreign trips, mostly to Japan.

However, he now seems to have gone back to his roots as a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University in the United States.

Lee rented a plot of land in the Hualien County township of Fenglin (鳳林) last year where he set up a research station which successfully crossbred “kuroge” (黑毛牛) or Japanese Black cattle with a Taiwanese cow to give birth to a “Taiwan wagyu,” the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported.

Lee reportedly predicted that the beef would be for sale within three years, so that Taiwanese consumers would no longer have to travel to Japan to taste real “wagyu,” which literally means “Japanese cow.”

The former president was reportedly planning to travel to Japan next month to elaborate on the results of his research into Japanese and Taiwanese cattle breeds.

Lee visited the farm in Hualien County several times to witness how the 20 heads of cattle there were growing, and said he had chosen its location because before he went into government, he had worked there and moved rocks in the river bed with his own hands, the Apple Daily reported.