Mon, Jan 14, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Cacao industry to get Pingtung center

Staff writer, with CNA

An artist’s rendition commissioned by the Pingtung County Government shows a center to promote local cacao to be built in Pingtung County’s Wanluan Township.

Photo provided by the Pingtung City Government

Work will begin soon on a center to promote local cacao, Hakka culture and tourism in Pingtung County, the Pingtung Department of Hakka Affairs said.

With the permission of the Diocese of Kaohsiung, an abandoned Catholic church in Wanluan Township (萬巒) is to be refurbished and turned into a promotional center for the local cacao industry, the department said.

With the project funded by Pingtung County Government and the Hakka Affairs Council, the center is to be the first of its kind in Taiwan.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday, with the center expected to be operational by August, the department said.

Cacao trees — which thrive in hot, rainy areas — grow mainly in latitudes within 20 degrees of the equator. In Taiwan, the trees are predominantly cultivated by Hakka communities in townships across Pingtung.

Cacao plantations can also be found in some non-Hakka communities, such as Jiouru (九如) and Ligang (里港) townships.

Nationwide, about 200 hectares of farmland are dedicated to the crop, the department said.

The nation’s cacao industry has experienced a boom in recent years after chocolate made from trees grown in the region received accolades.

In 2017 and last year, Pingtung-based chocolate makers have won at the International Chocolate Awards, including Fu Wan Chocolate, which claimed gold in the rough ground, textured plain and origin dark chocolate bars category at last year’s World Final in Florence, Italy.

Pingtung could win hosting rights for the next Asia-Pacific Competition leg of the awards, the department said.

The center, once completed, would assist the local cacao industry with marketing and promote local Hakka culture and tourism, the department said.

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