Taiwan lychee varieties grow future for Queensland exports

A significant step was taken today on the long road to exporting Queensland grown varieties of Taiwanese lychees to Asian markets.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said celebrations today marked the planting of six new purpose grown Taiwanese varieties of the fruit at Groves Grown Tropical Fruit Farm, Yeppoon.

“Today’s celebration represents both a significant physical and symbolic milestone in the horticulture research relationship between Queensland and Taiwan which stretches back more than a quarter of a century,” Mrs Lauga said.

“The Queensland Government is keen to develop this export opportunity and I thank Taiwan and their Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Dr JJ Chen for making the new varieties available to Queensland farmers for testing.

“These new Taiwanese varieties of lychees is an exciting development that hopefully results in opening the door for Queensland producers to increased export market share as well as supplying the Australian domestic market.

“For example, one of the varieties, ‘Rose Red’, is a large lychee with a slightly rose fragrance, has a better shelf life and is easier to peel giving it great appeal as an export variety.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said exporting lychees, widely known as the king of fruits, to Asia was a long-term program of work.

“In 2016, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (CoA) to introduce six new varieties of lychees from Taiwan into Queensland,” Mr Furner said.

“It is expected the trees will take approximately three years to grow before DAF can begin to evaluate which varieties are best to grow and are commercially viable and then take eight to ten years before significant volumes can be grown in Queensland.

“If the lychees do well in Queensland conditions, Australian growers and Taiwan could then consider a joint project to export to other Asian countries.

“If new export markets can be established, it will ultimately translate into new employment opportunities in regional Queensland.”

Mr Furner is meeting with Dr JJ Chen, Deputy Minister of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture, this week to discuss opportunities for expanding the already-significant trade relationship between Queensland and Taiwan.

Mr Furner said developing lychee exports would add to Queensland’s already strong export profile with Taiwan.

“Taiwan’s reliance on imports and consumer demand for healthy, high-quality food and beverages provides an opportunity to continue to grow Queensland’s premium food exports,” Mr Furner said.

“In 2018-19, Queensland’s agri-food exports to Taiwan totalled over $252 million making Taiwan Queensland’s ninth largest agri-food export market.

“Queensland already exports beef, seafood, wood products, nuts, beans, grain sorghum, soybeans and mandarins to Taiwan and adding lychees to that portfolio is an exciting prospect.”

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