This Monday, two townships in southern Taiwan suffered a total of NT$20 million (US$640,000)-worth in agricultural losses as more than 120 hectares of fruit plantations were damaged by a tornado. The tornado touched down at two villages in Linbian and Nanzhou townships in Pingtung County in the afternoon, uprooting trees, electricity poles and collapsing houses.
Taiwan is on “high alert” for further damage by the fall armyworm, said Premier Su Tseng-chang on Tuesday, after the island reported its first sighting of the invasive pest in a corn field. The fall armyworm, which has spread rapidly across Asia in recent months, was found in Miaoli county on the island’s northwest coast on Saturday, said the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) in a statement on Monday.
Agricultural production areas in central and south Taiwan are suffering from drought. A report on March 5th shows that the drought had already caused 505.94 million NTD [16.36 million USD] worth of damage. The garlic industry in particular suffers from this disaster. The damage in this industry alone is already around 123.74 million NTD [4 million USD].
The Council of Agriculture alerted farmers to an increase in the breeding activity of lychee stink bugs. Now the weather is turning warmer, it advised them to use biological methods to combat the insects when fruit trees begin to blossom. Lychee stink bugs (Tessaratoma papillosa), which are often found on lychee, longan, Taiwan golden-rain and Chinese soapberry trees, are considered pests by farmers, as they feed on sprouts, the council said.
Hualien's Yuli Township is renowned for its sweet watermelons and this year -because of a mild spring- a bumper harvest is expected in an area covering 160 hectares. Many of the watermelon farmers are elderly, and in previous years to prevent thieves from making off with the hard-earned melons, many would have to camp out in the fields at night.
After monkey raids claimed hundreds of pineapples at her hillside farm in Yunlin County’s Linnei Township, Liao Yueh-ying started using “Jigsaw” scarecrows, which she styled after the fictional serial killer from the horror franchise Saw, to protect her crop. Marauding bands of wild monkeys have eaten or smashed about 260 pineapples between the middle of last month and late this month.
Generally, loquats in Taitung County are the first to be harvested around the island, typically in early February. However, as of mid-February this year very few are ready for picking. Two significant cold snaps this year have pushed Taitung’s loquat harvest back. According to Yang Chao-hsin, a Taitung Area Farmer's Association member, the harvest season typically lasts from the beginning of February through the end of March.
A cold spell that gripped Taiwan in recent weeks caused nearly NT$70 million (US$2.38 million) in agricultural losses nationwide, the Council of Agriculture (COA) reported Wednesday. The most heavily damaged crop was pears, which accounted for NT$12.51 million of the total NT$69.03 million in agricultural losses, the COA said, citing data valid for the period Feb. 2-14.
Estimated agricultural losses caused by the Jan. 8 to Jan. 11 cold spell totalled NT$100.91 million (US$3.44 million) as of Friday, Council of Agriculture statistics showed. Damaged crops made up the bulk of the losses, totaling NT$84.96 million over 1,382 hectares. Especially hard-hit were tomatoes and bell fruit, followed by citrus fruit and jujubes.
Fewer typhoons this year have resulted in an abundant harvest of persimmons and extended the period for production of dried persimmons to February. It is estimated that persimmon harvests for a couple of varieties are up by at least 60 to 70 percent this year (from previous years). But while production has surged, demand has slowed, and many suppliers are turning to dried persimmon production to extend their crops’ shelf life.
Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) has announced plans to expand its disaster insurance programme for the agricultural sector to include rice and bananas, suggesting a need for greater reinsurance capacity and the potential for the capital markets to play a role in the future. The COA introduced a disaster insurance scheme for farmers that grow pears, mangos, and sugar-apples in 2016.
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