Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Made in Taiwan orchids on show

By Derek Lee  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan is making a name for itself in the orchid industry. And a show going on now in Tainan shows why.

PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURE

We think of tulips and Amsterdam, kiwi fruit and New Zealand. Soon, the world may be associating orchid flowers with Taiwan -- in particular the phalaenopsis species (蝴蝶蘭).

Since last year, the government has channeled a lot of effort into setting up a show at the Taiwan Orchid Plantation (TOP) in Hobi (後壁), Tainan County, in the hope of finding an international icon for Taiwan among the worldwide floriculture community.

The TOP project will provide an investment fund of NT$2.06 billion to develop a land area of 200 hectares and is scheduled to complete the task in 2008.

This Tuesday, the orchid exhibition in Tainan opened to the public for 12 days. Magnificent flowers such as Taiwan phalaenopsis (台灣蝴蝶蘭), catteya (嘉德利亞蘭) and paphiopedilum (托鞋蘭) are on show.

Big crowds have been attracted to the show every day, but the activity will end on Jan. 2. Those who miss the exhibition this time round can catch the international orchid show in March, next year, also in Hobi.

According to Lin Feng-pei (林豐沛), secretary general of the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association (台灣蘭花產銷發展協會) in Tainan, Taiwan has, in recent years, become the world's largest exporting country of orchid flowers, with 40 percent of the international market share.

Severe competition is coming from the US, the Netherlands and Japan, Orchid growers from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and China are also boosting their exports.

A recent report in FloraCulture International suggests the orchid is the most popular plant in Holland and Japan. In the US, it is second in popularity only to the poinsettia, or "Christmas red," as it's called in Taiwan.

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