Taiwan resumes pomelo exports to Japan after 2 decades

Country seeks to reduce reliance on export of pomelos to China and diversify market

Ceremony marking resumption of Taiwan-produced pomelos to Japan (Tainan City Government photo)

Ceremony marking resumption of Taiwan-produced pomelos to Japan (Tainan City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A ceremony was held in Tainan on Friday (Aug. 28) for the resumption of Taiwan-cultivated pomelo exports to Japan, after a 20-year hiatus.

An 11-ton batch of the citrus fruit will be transported to the Taichung branch of the Taiwan Provincial Fruit Marketing Cooperative for 12-day, low-temperature insect pest control. Then it will be shipped to Tokyo in mid-September, according to Tainan City Government.

One hundred of the 3,600 boxes of pomelos will be donated to Japanese schools as a gesture of goodwill. Officials from the representative office of Ibaraki’s Kasama City in Taiwan noted it will run a campaign to promote Taiwan-produced pomelos, mark the occasion and help boost sales.

According to Tainan's Agriculture Bureau in the southern Taiwan city, China is the biggest export market for the country’s pomelos, accounting for 89 percent in 2019 and 71 percent so far this year. The island has sought to increase pomelo exports to Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, and Japan in order to reduce reliance on China and diversify the market.

Taiwan exported an average of 2,200 to 2,400 tons of the fruit before 2017, and the amount soared to more than 4,900 tons last year. It is eyeing a target of over 5,000 tons in shipments this year, CNA said, citing the Cabinet-level Agriculture and Food Agency.

Tainan has the largest pomelo output in Taiwan, taking up the lion’s share of 26 percent. In addition to being a must-eat for the Moon Festival, the sweet citrus fruit can also be used as an ingredient for sauces, pastry products, and tea.