TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Tainan City in southern Taiwan will export jujubes (蜜棗) to Japan for the first time after setting out to achieve the goal seven years ago, according to a Chinese-language Liberty Times report on Monday.
Although Taiwan's jujubes have excellent quality and flavor, the country’s effort to export the fruit to Japan had suffered setbacks because Taiwan is an Oriental fruit fly epidemic area.
A major break came when Tainan Agriculture Trading Co located in Tainan’s Yujing District passed inspection by using a freezing process to kill pests, the report said. The company will, for the first time, export jujubes to Japan after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Tainan Agriculture Trading Co general manager Lee Wei-hsiung (李威雄) said that obtaining permission to export jujubes to the Japanese market, which is characterized by consumers with high levels of disposable income, is especially helpful in increasing the economic value of the fruit, according to the report.
The cultivation area of jujubes in Taiwan is about 1,970 hectares, and Tainan accounts for 13.8%, Lee said, adding that most of Tainan’s jujubes cultivation area is concenttrated in the Yujing and Nanxi districts, the report said. The first batch of the jujube export is expected to reach 2.5 tons of quality fruit.
Lee said that municipalities in south Taiwan had talked to Japanese authorities during the FOODEX JAPAN trade show for many years to persuade them to accept Taiwanese jujubes, and the request was finally approved at the end of 2016, according to the report.
Lee noted that jujubes have to meet many requirements before being allowed to export to Japan. At first, the jujubes have to pass pesticide testing, then afterwards be frozen at a temperature below 1.2 degrees Celsius for 14 days to make sure all fruit fly eggs are killed.
The variety of “Kaohsiung No.12 Cherish” is sweet, crispy, and juicy, and is therefore expected to become a staple export, Lee said, according to the report.