First Taiwan Orchid in growing media enter Australia

The first batch of Taiwanese butterfly orchids (Phalaenopsis aphrodite) potted in growing media arrived in a Australian farm Tuesday, a move expected to further boost Taiwan's orchid industry, officials said at a news conference.

After more than four years of negotiation, Australia finally agreed earlier this year to allow Taiwan's world-famous butterfly orchids to be imported in a growing medium of water weeds, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Wu-hsiung said.

"This is a significant breakthrough for our orchid products, as Australia is known for rigorous inspection on imported items," he said.

More importantly, this new measure will help expand the scale of Taiwan's butterfly orchid products on the market in Australia and bring more lucrative business opportunities, he added.

Importing butterfly orchids in growing media can slash the time -- from more than one year to five months -- before the plants are ready for sale after being transported to Australia, said Dennis Kao, president of Taiwan Orchid Growers Association.

This is because the plants are immersed in water weeds as the source of nutrients. Before, they had to be dry, without any growing media to provide nutrients during the transporting process, and needed a longer time to recover after arriving in the country, Kao said.

Meanwhile, the measure will also keep up to 95 percent of the plants alive when arriving in Australia, compared with 50-90 percent in the past, he added.

The new program saw the first 2,208 butterfly orchid pots in growing media shipped to Australia, and will yield a profit of US$2,208.

"It is not a large number; more like a move to test the water," Kao said. "But we believe we will be receiving more and more orders in the days ahead."

One of Taiwan's most popular export items, Taiwanese butterfly orchids have been renowned for their diversity and using water weeds as a growing medium, Kao added.

Following Australia, Japan and the United States, New Zealand also agreed in August to let in Taiwan's butterfly orchids in growing media.

According to COA statistics, butterfly orchids exported to countries such as Australia, Japan and the U.S. generated a value of US$82.55 million last year, three times that of 2005.

(Source: 15 SEP 2011)

Taiwan Orchid's Export Inreased by 43%
Taiwan’s reputation as an orchid kingdom has continued to expand abroad, with the country’s orchid exports showing a marked increase this year, the Council of Agriculture said Nov. 30. According to the COA, Taiwan’s orchid exports through to the end of October totaled NT$2.39 billion (US$77.66 million), up a whopping 43 percent over the same period last year.
The ceaseless efforts of local orchid breeders have contributed greatly to increased recognition of Taiwan as a world leading orchid producer, officials said. To honor this contribution, the Taiwan Orchid Breeders Society held its first outstanding orchid breeder and lifetime achievement awards ceremony at the Taipei International Flora Expo Nov. 30.

Among the winners was Huang Chong-de of Tai Ling Biotech Inc., developer of the V3 series of butterfly orchids, which have become the largest selling variety of the flower worldwide and have created billions of NT dollars in production value for Taiwan’s orchid industry.
Another award went to Huang Fu-sheng of Fusheng Paradise, who has successfully bred 45 varieties of black orchids.

With annual production amounting to over NT$2.94 billion, orchid growing has been a key element in the development of Taiwan’s high-end agricultural sector, the COA said. According to the COA, the government will continue its effort to sign plant variety protection agreements with other countries to help expand overseas markets for Taiwan’s orchids.

(Source: Taiwan Today Nov 2010)

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