The Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute’s branch in Chiayi County spent 28 years coming up with the new “Lychee Tainung No.7 (Early Big)” variety. Fruit farmers from the nation’s major lychee farming areas were invited to attend a launching ceremony on May 15 to try out the nascent cultivar. Chang Jhe-wei, a researcher at the institute and head of the horticulture department, says that the new variety can be harvested in the middle of May, sometime around Mother’s Day, which is 10 days earlier than the “jade purse” (yuhebao) variety. Lychee Tainung No.7 is large-fruited, tastes great and is easy to grow, so it is anticipated that it will become a new favorite among fruit farmers, Chang says.
Around 12,000 hectares of land is currently used for lychee cultivation in Taiwan, but Chang says that 70 percent of the lychee being grown belong to the heiye, or “black leaf,” cultivar, which are primarily harvested in June. The second most common variety, yuhebao, makes up around 25 percent of lychee cultivation and is typically harvested toward the end of May. A market surplus usually occurs due to the harvest period being concentrated around the end of May and the month of June, which slashes prices and affects farmers’ ability to turn a profit.
Lychee Tainung No.7 has helped bump the start of the harvest period to the middle of May. Fruit farmers in Pingtung County, Greater Kaohsiung, Greater Tainan and Changhua County are currently growing the new cultivar, which was already harvested in Pingtung and was nearly ready to be harvested in Greater Kaohsiung in mid-May. As a relatively rare commodity the new variety is by no means cheap, going for anywhere between NT$120 and NT$160 per jin (600g).
1. nascent adj.
(xin1ying3 de5; kai1 shi3 cun2 zai4 de5)
例: Ghana’s nascent space program recently launched a tiny model of a satellite to a height of 165m.
2. rare adj.
(xi1 you3 de5; han3 jian4 de5)
例: This rare gem is priceless.
3. stable adj.
(wen3 ding4 de5)
例: Are market forces really ever stable?
Chang says the fruit shows a stable yield, has nice flesh and contains as much as 16.7° Brix sugar content, making the new lychee a welcome commodity for consumers.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)