China's import ban on sugar apples, announced on 9/20, severely impacted Taitung's agricultural community. Every year, Taitung exports around 15,000 metric tons of sugar apple, which accounts for 95% of national exports. China's announcement coincided with a Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Kaohsiung Office visit to Taitung. Taitung County Government Secretary-General Lu Xie-chang chaired a meeting with the Taitung County Government Agriculture Department, other relevant county government departments and members of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Kaohsiung Office. During the meeting, those present discussed the market potential for pineapple sugar apples in Japan, quarantine regulations and other pertinent protocols.
Agriculture Department Director-General Xu Jia-hao stated that Taitung County has enforced a zero-pest policy since the beginning of this year. In addition, Director-General Xu has frequently discussed these matters with the Taitung County Farmer's Association, packaging plants and exporters. Taitung can't directly ship pineapple sugar apples to Japan because Taiwan is an area impacted by the oriental fruit fly. These pests don't inhabit Japan. Therefore, if Taitung wants to export pineapple sugar apples to Japan, they first must be turned into frozen food products. The Taitung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station has developed a novel technique that allows pineapple sugar apples to be exported. Sugar apples can now be frozen at -40°C before they are fully ripe. After three days, nearly all the sugar apples become fully ripe even though they are still frozen. Once the fruit is thawed, the appearance, texture and flavor are almost the same as fresh pineapple sugar apples.
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