TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Support has poured in from politicians and businesses for Fangshan mangoes after reports of canceled orders followed internet rumors that the crop had been contaminated by the Delta COVID-19 variant, CNA reported.
Pingtung County is Taiwan’s second-largest mango producing region, with a yearly output of 56,000 tons of mangoes. Fangshan Township, located in the Hengchun Peninsula, is most famous for its early-ripening and delicious Aiwen mangoes.
As a result of the fake news, many mango farmers’ home delivery orders, ranging from dozens of boxes to more than 100, were canceled. A fruit distributor had purchased more than 400 boxes of Fangshan mangoes, but when the distributor tried to resell the mangoes to vendors in wholesale markets, they all refused to buy, according to CNA.
Since the news of the cancelations broke on Sunday, the Pingtung County Government has offered to help affected farmers sell their mangoes. The Council of Agriculture has also launched a campaign to encourage businesses to order the fruit.
On Monday, business orders for mangoes to an agricultural cooperative in Fangshang exceeded 500 boxes.
Essayist Lung Yingtai (龍應台) took to Facebook to express her support for the farmers. It’s not the time to mistreat Fangshan folk, she wrote; rather, they should be treated with kindness, generosity, and warmth. She added that more orders should be placed.
Inspired by Lung’s post, Pingtung County Councilor Huang Ming-hsien (黃明賢) on Monday ordered 100 boxes of Fangshan mangoes, which will be gifted to 20 hospitals in Taipei and New Taipei.