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May 27, 2017

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Local jujubes to enter the Japanese market by year-end: official

TAIPEI--Japanese consumers will be able to enjoy crunchy, juicy and sweet Taiwan-grown jujubes by the end of the year, once Japanese inspectors are satisfied with Taiwan's quarantine procedures, an agricultural research station said Friday.

"We are aiming at the high end of the market, just like with our other popular produce," said Huang Tze-chung, director of the Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, which is behind the development of jujubes in Taiwan.

Huang said Taiwan has reported to Japan that it has a process in place to kill the Oriental fruit fly in any jujube shipment, a must if the fruit is to be exported to Japan, and Japanese inspectors will verify the process on March 3, the end of the winter growing season.

If the inspection passes muster, jujube exports to Japan will begin at the start of the next harvesting season in November, Huang said.

Taiwan produces 35,000 metric tons of jujubes every year, of which around 140 metric tons are exported, mostly to countries such as China, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei that do not require quarantine procedures, according to the station.

Chiou Chu-ying, a researcher who has developed eight varieties over the past 15 years, said Taiwan has been a leader in the cultivation of jujubes since 1992.

"Some strains have great potential in overseas markets," she told CNA, saying that the new varieties now have good heat tolerance, long shelf lives and high yield rates.

In addition to their crunchiness, juiciness and sweetness, jujubes are rich in vitamin C and have been dubbed as "the fruit for the future," she said.

One hundred grams of jujubes contain 45-70 milligrams of vitamin C, twice the amount found in limes and four times that found in cherries, according to Chiou.

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