Tue, Jun 25, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Jasmine harvests in Changhua down 70 percent this year

By Tang Shih-min and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Workers harvest jasmine in a field in Changhua County’s Huatan Township on Sunday.

Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Taipei Times

The jasmine harvest in Changhua County’s Huatan Township (花壇) has fallen 70 percent this year from previous years, the lowest level in decades as a result of pests, unusual weather and other factors, a local farmers’ association said on Sunday.

With 28 hectares of the plants, Huatan is the largest producer of jasmine in the county.

Jasmine buds sold for NT$120 per jin (600g) in 2016, when yields were normal, but due to climate anomalies, production has begun to drop annually, said a grower who declined to be named.

This year, jasmine production shrank to the “lowest on record,” with prices reaching NT$180 per jin, the grower said.

Even though prices have soared, growers have “no flowers to pick,” and their incomes have not risen, they said.

The flowers grow well in warm, but not excessively hot climates, optimally at about 28°C, Huatan Farmers’ Association director-general Ku Pi-chi (顧碧琪) said.

However, temperatures have been fairly irregular this year, easily topping 30°C during the day last month, but falling to lower than average levels in the evenings, Ku said.

As a result of the large temperature variations, most jasmine plants are not forming buds, she said.

Multiple incidents of heavy and excessive rainfall this year have also knocked jasmine buds off, she said.

Pests have had a more obvious effect on plants grown using environmentally friendly practices, she said.

Prices for jasmine grown using traditional and eco-friendly methods have reached record highs of NT$180 per jin and NT$540 per jin respectively, she said.

However, as the plants have not bloomed, production of jasmine items sold by the association — such as jasmine tea, jasmine-flavored coffee, jasmine-scented soap, jasmine-infused plums, jasmine-flavored honey and jasmine-flavored vinegar — has fallen drastically, Ku said.

The association’s revenues have decreased significantly as a result, she said.

It can only hope that production levels return to normal next year so the township’s reputation as a “jasmine kingdom” might be restored, she said.

This story has been viewed 1445 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top