Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Fruity magnets up for grabs

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Council of Agriculture Chairman Su Jia-chyuan yesterday holds up a wax apple at an event promoting a competition to vote for Taiwan's top 10 favorite fruits.

PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES

Can the public's fascination with collecting magnets help sell more Taiwanese fruit?

In a scheme reminiscent of the wildly successful "Hello Kitty" magnet giveaway campaign of 2005 by the Uni-President convenience store chain, the Council of Agriculture (COA) is giving away a fruit-themed magnet for every NT$200 spent on Taiwanese fruit at participating outlets across the country.

The magnets are just a part of the COA's efforts to promote this summer's bumper fruit crop. If all thirty magnets are collected, they can be formed into a jigsaw puzzle of Taiwan.

"We are hoping to tap into the public's urge to collect," said Chung Lien-fang (鐘蓮芳), part of the team that dreamt up the scheme, at a press conference yesterday.

"The magnets are also an educational tool that teaches the public about the wide variety of fruits we have here in Taiwan," Chung said.

"Good marketing is essential no matter what the product," said COA Chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全). "We need to remind people of all the tasty fruits we are lucky enough to have here in Taiwan."

The public are also encouraged to go online at top10fruit.afa.gov.tw to vote for their top 10 favorite fruits of Taiwan.

People can also prepare a fruity iced dessert from "The Art of Ice," a parody of Sun Tzu's (孫子) The Art of War (孫子兵法) featuring recipes ostensibly from the chairman.

According to Huang Yu-tsai (黃有才), the director general of the COA's Agriculture and Food Agency, this summer's fruit yields have been 10 percent to 20 percent higher than previous years due to favorable weather conditions. Yet farmers might be hurt rather than helped by the bumper crop if oversupply causes prices to fall.

"This summer's crop is not only heavy but excellent in quality," he said.

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