Taiwan will begin exporting jujubes to Japan early next year as part of an effort to expand the overseas market for the fruit, a breeder said yesterday.
“Japan will be our first market that conducts quarantine procedures for the tropical fruit,” said Chiou Chu-ying, a researcher at the Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station in southern Taiwan.
Taiwan has been exporting jujubes to China, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other countries that do not require quarantine procedures for the fruit, she said.
Unlike small, sour and astringent Indian jujubes, Taiwanese varieties are juicy, sweet and crunchy, Chiou said.
The agricultural research station is eyeing the global market for Taiwanese varieties, which have a long shelf life and high yield rate, she said.
Taiwan has been a leader in the cultivation of jujubes since 1992, with the Kaohsiung station alone developing seven varieties since 1996, Chiou said.
The “Kaohsiung 8” variety, nicknamed “Treasure,” has proved very popular locally and internationally, she said.
Each fruit weighs 150g on average and is sold for more than NT$100, she added.
The station’s director Huang Tze-chung said he hoped that Taiwan’s jujubes, which are rich in nutrients and are a good source of antioxidants, could have similar success on the global market as kiwifruit from New Zealand.
Jujubes are also grown in China, Thailand and India, but Taiwan is the only country that produces them for export, Huang said.
Jujubes are “the fruit of the future,” Huang said, adding that their vitamin C content is twice that of lemons, four times that of cherries and 20 times that of apples.