Fri, Feb 11, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Jujubes thrive at Kaohsiung research center

Staff Writer, with CNA

Four varieties of jujubes grown in Greater Kaohsiung have hit the market over the past 10 years after two decades of development and improvement, officials from the Council of Agriculture’s Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station said.

The fruit, an important crop in central and southern Taiwan, is green, sweet and juicy, earning it the moniker of “Taiwanese apples,” the officials said.

The acreage given over to jujubes has more than doubled from 1,239 hectares in 1989 to 2,566 hectares in 2009, with the Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung regions accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total, station officials said.

Of the four jujube varieties, Kaohsiung 5 (Green Honey) is characterized by a high sugar content and Kaohsiung 6 (Sweet Heart) is known for it small seed size, thin skin and low juice acidity. Both varieties were developed in 2007.

The other two varieties, Kaohsiung 2 (Spring Honey) and Kaohsiung 3 (Golden Sweet), were developed in 2001 and 2004 respectively.

Other accomplishments of the station in the past two decades include the development of artificial night lights to control breeding times, the promotion of fruit-thinning technology to improve the quality of fruit, horizontal trellis structures with netting to prevent stalk breakage and the establishment of specialized fertilizer application processes and nutrition criteria.

In addition, the station has promoted the use of long-acting fruit fly trapping devices, developed machines to classify jujubes by weight, formed industry alliances, set up technical teams to provide counseling services for fruit farms, and held nationwide jujube breeding competitions.

With these improved technologies, the jujube season, which previously lasted from December to March, can now commence as early as October, the officials said.

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