Wed, May 15, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Pineapple farmer doubles as bodybuilder and artist

By Tsai Chang-sheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Kao Kuo-wei, a two-time national college bodybuilding champion, displays his award-winning pineapples at an award ceremony for quality fruits in Tainan on Monday last week.

Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times

Pineapple farmer Kao Kuo-wei (高國維) in Tainan’s Guanmiao District (關廟) has created a name for himself by cultivating pineapples of excellent quality, while also working as a bodybuilding instructor and making artistic laser cuttings.

Kao said that he took up farming after finishing his mandatory military service six years ago when he realized that the workforce in the agriculture industry is aging.

As most farmers who grow the district’s most renowned crop are elderly, their pineapple farming knowledge would be lost if not passed on, Kao said.

The concept of farming was foreign to him and he had no experience, so he started growing pineapples with assistance from the local Young Farmers’ Association, Kao said.

Instead of quantity, Kao said that he aimed for quality and planted three cultivars of pineapples on about 0.4 hectares of farmland.

He adheres closely to all pesticide regulations, and his produce has been inspected and awarded many certificates, Kao said, adding that people can rest easy when eating his produce.

Aside from farming, Kao doubles as a bodybuilding instructor, as he is a two-time champion in the nation’s vocational school cup.

Kao said that he did not expect to win the championship when he took up bodybuilding, and his reasons for participating were quite simple to start with.

“My weight exceeded 100kg during college and I wanted to slim down,” Kao said, adding that he had not expected to like it and keep doing bodybuilding as a hobby.

He also has a private studio where he makes laser engravings, Kao added.

Despite having three jobs, Kao said that he still finds time to help elderly farmers tend their fields, which he finds to be easy with his physique.

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