Drought reduces Taiwan lychee production to 10% in worst case

Prolonged drought in Taiwan has affected the harvest in various areas. In Qishan, Dashu and other areas in Kaohsiung, Yuhebao lychees have trouble fruiting due to continuous drought. Growers lament that the production may only be a little over 10% in the worst case.

Heiyezi and Yuhebao are main lychee varieties in Kaohsiung. Data from the Kaohsiung City Agriculture Bureau shows that the city has a planted area of 3088 hectares, mainly in Dashu District (1825 hectares, 59% of the total), Qishan District (529 hectares), Shanlin District (239 hectares) and Neimen District (227 hectares). Yuhebao, the main variety, has the largest planted area in Taiwan of about 2,400 hectares. This year, due to prolonged drought and raging leaf-blotch miners, the yield is low, with fruit-bearing rate at about 3-5%. The damage is especially severe with Yuhebao, where frequent fruit falls can be observed, leading to increased losses. At present, 734 hectares and 30.976,000 NTD of losses have been reported in various affected areas.

Chen Jizhong, chairman of the Council of Agriculture visited the affected areas on the 26th and promised natural disaster relief, stating that the Council will help growers tide over the difficulties as quickly as possible. A local community director said the orchards are built on stones, so water loss is rapid and the lack of rain this year has led trees to bloom without bearing fruit; even when the trees bore fruit, they all fell off the tree. Growers lament that the production this year may be less than 10%.

Another grower said his Yuhebao had a poor harvest last year. Over a month ago, flowers burst into full bloom and he hoped for a bumper harvest this year, but the drought came. After the flowers withered, the trees did not bear fruit. The fruit setting rate in his orchards was less than 10%, so he had to cut them all down.

Chen Qimai, Mayor of Kaohsiung, stated on the 28th that the Council of Agriculture yesterday designated the affected areas in Kaohsiung as a cash relief area. After the announcement, the district growers' associations and offices will complete disaster surveys as soon as possible. For a damaged area of over 20%, Yuhebao will be subsidized 90,000 per hectare, and Heiyezi will be subsidized 60,000 per hectare. Chen said that the Dashu District of Kaohsiung is a hilly terrain and water flows down the mountain, so the damages are particularly severe. Yesterday, he asked the Bureau of Agriculture and the district office to conduct investigations as soon as possible, hoping to help growers overcome the difficulties as quickly as possible.

Source: The Straits Herald

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