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Typhoon Haikui causes estimated NT$600 million in agricultural losses in eastern Taiwan

Typhoon damages 5,600 hectares of crops in Taitung

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Taitung pomelo crop ruined by Typhoon Haikui. (CNA photo)

Taitung pomelo crop ruined by Typhoon Haikui. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taitung Agriculture Department Director Hsu Chia-hao (許家豪) estimated on Monday (Sept. 4) agricultural losses in Taitung County exceeded NT$600 million, covering 5,600 hectares, affecting Wendan pomelo, custard apples, bananas, navel oranges, and other crops.

Taitung’s Donghe Township, Taiyuan Valley, is the main growing area for ​​Wendan pomelo, navel oranges, and cloves in Taiwan. The typhoon led the only road servicing the area, Provincial Highway 23, to be blocked by fallen trees and landslides, per CNA.

Work crews removed obstacles from the road to provide access to orchards where fallen fruit could be seen rotting in piles under pomelo trees. Some of the larger trees even toppled over due to the strong winds.

Typhoon Haikui causes estimated NT$600 million in agricultural losses in eastern Taiwan
The banana crop was also badly damaged in Taitung by Typhoon Haikui. (CNA photo)

Agricultural Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) and DPP Legislator Liu Chao-hao (劉櫂豪) visited Taitung on Monday to inspect the damages.

The worst hit crop was Wendan pomelos, with most orchards ruined over night, wiping out nearly a year’s worth of labor and effort, according to one farmer. One farmer told Chen that they suffered around NT$1 million in damages to pomelos that were two be harvested in two days, while another said they lost their crop that was to be harvested on Sept. 10.

Farmers estimate that more than 70% of citrus crops have been lost. Another farmer took out her cell phone to show Liu that her entire custard apple crop had been ruined as no harvest could take place this year.

Typhoon Haikui causes estimated NT$600 million in agricultural losses in eastern Taiwan
Pomelos were almost ready to harvest when the typhoon struck. (CNA photo)

Liu appealed to the agricultural minister to speed up damage assessment and assist local governments and public offices so that farmers can get government help as soon as possible. Chen said the Ministry of Agriculture has announced cash assistance and low-interest loans for all farmers affected by the typhoon in Taitung County.