Taiwanese mangoes have strong potential for sales growth in the Japanese market because of their quality, Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said yesterday.
Su, who last week returned from a trip to Japan to promote domestic mangoes, said yesterday that his recent investigation into Japanese markets suggests that Taiwanese mangoes have great potential there.
According to Su, promotional exhibitions held in Tokyo and Osaka early this month attracted hundreds of dealers, who responded positively to the Irwin variety of Taiwanese mango.
Su said that recently completed steam sterilization facilities in Tainan County will help ensure the quality of domestic fruit.
"Our mango consignments exported to Japan will all be accompanied by a completed sanitary certificate. In addition to the quality [control], we also have to ensure the quantity and that the packaging is well-designed," Su said.
Su said he found that the price of a mango from Mexico or Taiwan sold in ordinary supermarkets was only about NT$172, while that of a Japanese mango sold in a top-end department store fetched NT$1,056.
Given that, Taiwan should try to promote its mangoes into Japan's high-spending market, Su said.
Mangoes were introduced to Taiwan by the Dutch. In 1954, Taiwanese farmers began to grow foreign varieties that were introduced from the US by the government. Among them, the Irwin variety has become the most popular.
Last year, Tainan County exported 501 tonnes of Irwin mangoes to Japan, valued at US$2 million. This year, the county government hopes to triple the amount it exports to Japan.
Su said that focusing on exporting Taiwanese fruit to China, which recently promised to exempt 15 types of Taiwanese agricultural products from tariffs, was not a good idea.
"Quality Taiwanese fruit and other agricultural products deserve to be promoted in advanced countries that consume a large amount of quality products, rather than developing countries," Su said.
Meanwhile, representatives of opposition parties, including the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the People First Party (PFP) visited the Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday, to urge council officials to facilitate exporting Taiwanese agricultural products to China.
Hu Fu-Hsiung (胡富雄), deputy minister of the council, said that the semi-official Taiwan External Trade and Development Council (TAITRA) had been designated by the government as the only agency to deal with fruit exports to China. Hu said the designation could ensure more transparent agricultural trade with China.
"In the future, bilateral negotiations on related issues, such as tariffs, quarantines, examination, and customs formalities, will be arranged by TAITRA, which will be assisted by agriculture experts, the COA and the Mainland Affairs Council," Hu said.