A Healthy Economy of Fruits 寶島水果——台灣經濟之寶
For an island called the "fruit kingdom," it's a surprising fact that just about all fruit species now grown in Taiwan were originally imports. Tree fruit cultivation began as recently as 1624. Dutch trading ships bore mangoes from Southeast Asia, as well as dragon fruit and custard apples from Central and South America. Over the next two centuries, peaches, guavas, grapes, lychees, bananas, watermelons, papayas, pineapples, oranges and starfruit crossed over the Taiwan Strait in the hands of Chinese immigrants. These were well-suited to the abundant rainfall, fertile soil and warm climate of Taiwan. The Japanese planted apples, nectarines and Asian pears during their occupation.
說來令人驚訝，台灣雖然被稱為「水果王國」，但現在幾乎所有種植於島上的水果原先都是進口而來。果樹栽植在晚近的 1624 年才開始。荷蘭商船從東南亞運來芒果，也從中南美洲運來火龍果與釋迦。往後兩百年間，桃子、芭樂、葡萄、荔枝、香蕉、西瓜、木瓜、鳳梨、柳橙與楊桃隨著中國移民跨越台灣海峽。這些水果都很適合種植在雨量豐沛、土壤肥沃且氣候溫暖的台灣。日本人則在占領台灣期間種植蘋果、油桃與水梨。
Taiwan's Council of Agriculture is extremely dedicated to the research and development of new techniques and cultivars. Teams of experts in regional stations typically spend 6-20 years carefully monitoring a new variety for appearance, yield, flavor and hardiness. Breed improvements not only enhance the final product but can also lower environmental and production costs. The Taichung research station has developed oriental pear varieties that retain high-elevation texture and taste but can be grown at low altitudes, reducing soil erosion that is common when farming in high, steep terrain.
The meticulous hard work is paying off. Even during the economic stall in 2009, fruit exports grew by 48.7 percent, and in the first half of 2013 amounted to 32,926 metric tons. Taiwan's reputation for steady supply and quality of unique fruits gives it a firm anchor on the world stage.
這種一絲不苟的辛勞工作獲得了成功。即便在 2009 年的經濟停滯期間，水果外銷仍成長了 48.7%，並在 2013 年上半年達到 32,926 公噸。台灣因為各種獨特水果的穩定供應量和品質，在世界舞台上占有穩固的一席之地。