Everytime I visit the Kaohsiung, the prefecture in southern Taiwan, my first impulse is to enjoy the fruits in season. In fact, my father-in-law is always ready with a few pieces, especially with my favorite Taiwan orange – Liu Ding, which is available almost all year round except for the winter months, and lately, their very juicy am, sweet makopa. This last Christmas break was no different.
Taiwan is now well-known the world over for its tasty fruits. Not imported but all locally-grown. My son, Julius, enjoyed the sweet Indian Jujube, juicy Gem Makopa and Carambola offered by Dr. Kan-Shu Chen, director of the Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Branch, during our recent visit. All these were developed through research and years of field improvement in production management technique and postharvest handling procedures. The Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Branch is one of;two principal research stations among eleven of the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI).
HISTORY AND MANDATE
A developed agricultural foundation, an island-wide educational system and the railway system are what the Taiwanese are thankful for to the Japanese colonizers of 50 years. Towards the end of its occupation, the Japanese established the Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Station in 1940. Initially the improvement of pineapple and vegetable production were its primary mandates. In 1981, the station was reorganized according to the Scientific Technology Development Plan issued by the Executive Yuan (equivalent to our Executive Department). The research sections were restructured into four departments, namely: tropical fruit trees, vegetable crops, plant protection, and management, and utilization department. Since then, it has become an important research center under the TARI.