Taoyuan plans agricultural biotech park to boast Taiwan's circular economy

Northern Taiwan city aims to work with I-Mei Foods to expand food safety inspections at international airport, help local business development

(Taoyuan City Government photo)

(Taoyuan City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) has announced a plan to build an agricultural biotech park aimed at cutting red tape in order to free up Taiwan's biotech sector.

The mayor visited I-Mei Foods's biomedical operations center in Taoyuan's Longtan District on Monday (June 22), where he laid out a plan for an "agricultural biotech park" to support local biotechnology businesses and promote a circular economy approach to minimizing waste and pollution during production.

I-Mei implemented a circular economy business model many years ago, which can be gleaned from an ecological pond found at its Nan Kang plant and its procurement of unwanted turnip greens from small farmers to extract Lutein.

Cheng also hailed the food manufacturer as a remarkable role model whose state-of-the-art food safety laboratory has helped the company avoid food system crisis multiple times. He is hoping that Taoyuan International Airport can collaborate with I-Mei's food laboratory and various agencies to carry out border inspections more effectively.

The food giant began delving into macrobiotics and biomedicine around five years ago. It is committed to developing high-value ingredients for nutraceuticals from agricultural waste as part of its mission for a circular economy and waste minimization. Cheng said that the company's commitment is in line with the country's new direction for the development of agriculture in which its value will be added through biotechnology and food processing businesses.

"In this park, biotech companies and Chinese herbal medicine manufacturers will flourish thanks to our policy support and to the effects of an industry cluster," Cheng added.

I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (高志明) is proud of the company's freeze vacuum drying system, which he believes can allow agricultural products to retain a higher level of nutrients while processing, adding value to them as macrobiotics.

Earlier this year the food giant vowed to spend NT$3.2 billion (about US$34 million) to build an automated production line at the Longtan plant to boost production. The plant is set to hammer out the country's largest and Asia's third-largest freeze vacuum drying system in the coming three years, which would be able to preserve a wide variety of heat-sensitive ingredients. Its goal is to produce nutraceutical ingredients in-house rather than having to rely on imports and one day become the main supplier to local companies that need the ingredients.

Taoyuan plans agricultural biotech park to boast Taiwan's circular economy
I-Mei Foods CEO Luis Ko (second from right) giving a plant tour during the visit of Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (left). (Taoyuan City Government photo)

Updated : 2020-12-02 21:53 GMT+08:00