The cultivation of peaches and nectarines in Taiwan is expected to increase from 16,171 tonnes in 2019 to 19,000 tonnes in 2020 due to an increase in fruit-bearing trees. The Taiwanese government's adequate handling of Covid-19 has led to a modest recovery in domestic consumption, keeping consumption strong and imports stable. Taiwan is expected to import up to 15,000 tonnes of peaches and nectarines in 2020, mainly from the US and Chile.
Cherry imports are expected to increase to 12,000 tonnes this year.
Peaches and nectarines
The Taiwanese peach season runs from April to August, depending on the variety and height. Growers reported that the weather in 2020 was largely favourable, with the exception of a brief period in the beginning of the season when rainfall negatively impacted pollination. This year, Taichung and Taoyuan remained the largest producing regions, with nearly 80 percent of the domestic production. Of the three main varieties grown in Taiwan, Taoyuan mainly produces early sweet varieties, of which the honey peaches are harvested at a higher level.
In 2020, the total crop area is expected to remain stable or decrease slightly to 2,040 hectares. In 2019, there were few typhoons, allowing Taiwan's orchards to recover.
Taiwanese are among the largest consumers of fruit in the world. Fruit gift packs are usually given during all major holidays. Local peach producers often work with merchants to run promotional campaigns during the big holidays. Imported peaches and nectarines are also popular as holiday gifts. Wholesale chains have a strong preference for imported products because of their competitive prices compared to domestic production.
Both the local sweet peaches and the honey peaches are considered premium fruits due to their taste and appearance. The honey peach is a local variety that stays on the tree until the end of the season when the weather gets colder and the sugars increase rapidly and the acids decrease. They often sell for ten times the price of regular peaches in retail.
Still, both the imported and domestic peaches from Taiwan are highly dependent on consumer whims. They will not hesitate to buy the most price-competitive fruit, but are not brand loyal. Total fruit consumption therefore continues to grow, but there is little loyalty to a particular variety.
The Taiwanese have a strong preference for sweet cherry varieties, and in particular for processed cherry products or juices. Taiwan has a subtropical climate, which is not suitable for cherry cultivation. Local demand is therefore completely dependent on imports. The consumption of cherries is expected to be slightly higher than last year at 12,000 tonnes, with little negative Covid-related consumption effects.