The farmers caught up in Taiwan's tensions with China




  • In Business
  • 2022-10-05 23:35:37Z
  • By BBC
Pomelo farmer Wu Cheng-wan and his wife Liu Ming-yu
Pomelo farmer Wu Cheng-wan and his wife Liu Ming-yu  

Fruit farmer Wu Cheng-wan says the ban from China came at exactly the wrong time.

"This year I was very cautious," he says. "I was especially afraid because the lack of rain and drought disrupted growth, and then political circumstances led China to cut off orders, so we can't sell our pomelos."

A pomelo is large citrus fruit that is similar to a grapefruit, but with a sweeter flavour.

Back in early September the orchards around the small town of Ruisui on Taiwan's east coast were laden with the fruit.

The pomelos were due to be picked ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which was celebrated in Taiwan and on mainland China this year on 10 September. This is a harvest festival slightly analogous to US Thanksgiving, and the fruit is traditionally eaten as part of the celebrations.

Yet this year Mr Wu, one of the local farmers, says that many of his neighbours gave up trying to sell their crop after a sharp drop in prices.

A worker with a trailer full of pomelos
A worker with a trailer full of pomelos  

This came after the Chinese government in Beijing announced in August that it would be banning imports of Taiwanese pomelos, a move widely seen as a way to punish Taiwan for receiving a visit that month from leading US politician Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

The background to this is that, while self-ruled Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the Chinese mainland, with its own democratically-elected government, Beijing sees the island as a breakaway province that will eventually be under its control.

China and Taiwan: A really simple guide

Farmers in Ruisui usually export 70% of their pomelos to mainland China, so Mr Wu says the ban will make it difficult for everyone to cover costs such as fertilizer and labour.

"The month before the Mid-Autumn Festival, the market was already saturated, so when it was our turn to harvest pomelos in Ruisui it was too late as the price had already dropped," he adds.

"This year's Chinese market ban came quickly, so it was too late to find a new market, and too late to react."

While Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at investment bank Natixis, says that China's ban on Taiwanese pomelos is not a "big issue" for Taiwan, it has to be seen in the context of it being just one of many prohibitions that Beijing put in place last month.

Nancy Pelosi with Taiwan
Nancy Pelosi with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen  

In total, China blocked imports of more than 2,000 different Taiwanese food stuffs, from fish and seaweed, to cooking oils, cakes and other fruits. This followed after previous bans of Taiwanese pineapples, and both wax and sugar apples (tropical fruits that don't look or taste like apples).

Taken all together, it highlights the potentially precarious nature of Taiwan's economic relationship with the mainland.

Global Trade

China is far and away Taiwan's biggest trading partner, and last year was the destination for 42% of Taiwanese exports, compared to the 15% that went to the US.

In the opposite direction, 22% of Taiwan's imports come from China, with only 10% from the US.

Much of Taiwan's trade with China is concentrated around Taiwan's electronics and semiconductor industry, which is deeply intertwined with China's tech industry, but DBS Bank economist Ma Tieying says farmers and food companies are particularly exposed to import bans.

This is because unlike Taiwan's tech exports, they are easy to ban without it having any impact on China's own manufacturing. Separately, China has since 2019 banned people from going to Taiwan on holiday.

Workers at a Taiwanese-owned tech factory in China
Workers at a Taiwanese-owned tech factory in China  

"Going forward, whether Beijing will roll out more restriction measures need to be closely watched," says Ms Ma.

"There is the risk for Beijing to expand import bans to some low-end Taiwanese manufacturing goods such as footwear and wood. In these sectors, Taiwan has high reliance on China for export sales, while China has low reliance on Taiwan for import supply."

Christina Lai, a junior research fellow at the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institution, says that Taiwanese farmers are looking for new buyers in Japan, Australia and the Middle East, but that this will take time.

"It is unclear how long China's ban on tropical fruits and tourists will last, but Taiwan's diversification strategies for its agricultural industry will certainly continue," says Ms Lai. "It might take several years for Taiwan's farmers to make needed structural adjustments and sector reforms."

She adds that It might be time for Taiwan's wider business community to also diversify beyond China. Meanwhile, other analysts have started to worry that China might try to blockade Taiwan in the future, as relations between the two sides fall to some of their lowest points in 25 years.

Farmer Wu Cheng-wan driving to collect harvested pomelos
Farmer Wu Cheng-wan driving to collect harvested pomelos  

Back on Taiwan's rural east coast, many of these concerns seem far away, trumped by the present.

At Mr Wu's farm, workers still had to harvest his pomelo trees. Even with prices collapsing, the fruit still had to be picked because if it are left to rot they will damage the surrounding soil and bring pests.

Mr Wu and his wife hope Taiwan can find new export markets, but also new uses for pomelo, which is still considered a "seasonal fruit". He also wants subsidies from the government to not just help buyers but also go directly to farmers like himself.

"The government has been saying that this country is built on agriculture, but farmers are quickly being crushed to death," he says.

COMMENTS

More Related News

China Covid protests: Fury and fear of virus puts Xi Jinping in a bind
China Covid protests: Fury and fear of virus puts Xi Jinping in a bind

For three years the patience of one billion Chinese was stretched with lockdowns - now it's snapped.

Protests against Covid lockdowns sweep China, challenging Xi
Protests against Covid lockdowns sweep China, challenging Xi
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 15:36:32Z

Protesters increasingly fed up with Chinese President Xi Jinping's "zero-Covid" restrictions rallied in cities across the country over the weekend.

China
China's Xi Jinping faces calls to resign amid unprecedented protests
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 14:46:31Z

"Down with Xi Jinping! Down with the Communist Party!" protesters could be heard chanting in videos circulated online.

Apple shares slip as China factory unrest fuels iPhone supply concerns
Apple shares slip as China factory unrest fuels iPhone supply concerns
  • US
  • 2022-11-28 13:03:15Z

Reuters reported on Friday that the Foxconn-operated plant could see a further drop in November shipments as thousands of employees quit amid discontent over...

China
China's Xi faces public anger over draconian 'zero COVID'
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 07:55:34Z

Barely a month after granting himself new powers as China's potential leader for life, Xi Jinping is facing a wave of public anger of the kind not seen for...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • basalam.com/family1381
    (2022-10-06 14:41:22Z)

    حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله حمامی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی حوله دستی قیمت حوله حمامیقیمت حوله حمامیقیمت حوله حمامی قیمت حوله حمامی قیمت حوله حمامی حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش قیمت حوله تنپوش حوله تنپوش سایز ۱۲۵ حوله تنپوش سایز ۱۲۵ حوله تنپوش سایز ۱۲۵ حوله تنپوش سایز ۱۲۵

    REPLY
  • paeez.shop
    (2022-10-06 14:41:41Z)

    خرید آون توستر
    توستر نوبل
    بهترین مارک آون توستر
    قیمت آون توستر
    قیمت توستر نوبل
    بهترین مارک توستر
    مشخصات اون توستر خوب
    بهترین مارک توستر با قیمت
    توستر سرانزو دیجی کالا
    قیمت آون توستر پارس خزر
    قیمت آون توستر بوش
    بهترین آون توستر
    بهترین توستر
    بهترین مارک توستر در بازار
    اون توستر وگاتی دیجی کالا
    توستر هایلوکس
    بهترین مارک اون توستر در بازار
    توستر قیمت
    آون توستر بایترون
    آون توستر کویین
    قیمت انواع اون توستر
    قيمت توستر
    قیمت اون توستر تولیپس 45 لیتری
    oven toaster قیمت
    قیمت توستر تولیپس
    اون توستر تولیپس
    قیمت توستر سامسونگ
    قیمت توستر zooter
    قیمت توستر komtai
    بهترین مارک توستر خارجی
    بهترین برند آون توستر
    آون توستر مینی سان
    آون توستر برتینو
    آون توستر سامسونگ اقساطی
    خرید توستر پارس خزر
    قیمت توستر آون
    راهنمای خرید آون توستر
    خرید آون توستر پارس خزر
    قیمت oven toaster
    قیمت توستر تولیپس ۴۵ لیتری
    توستر جی پاس
    قیمت انواع اون توستر دلونگی
    اون توستر سایا
    قیمت آون توستر تکنو
    توستر درنیکا
    قیمت توستر داتیس
    توستر ارزان
    آون توستر لورنزو دیجی کالا
    بهترین آون توستر بازار
    آون توستر تولیپس 4507
    آون توستر تکنوهاوس
    seranzo قیمت مایکروفر
    آون توستر نوتریکوک
    قیمت آون توستر تولیپس
    آون توستر ویداس 4338w
    آون توسترvip
    آون توستر قیمت
    خرید آون
    قیمت توستر میگل
    قیمت oven toaster seranzo
    آون توستر اوریکس دیجی کالا
    خرید آون توستر فلر
    فروش آون توستر
    آون توستر باریتون
    قیمت مایکروفر لوکسل
    نمایندگی فروش اون توستر پارس خزر
    خرید اینترنتی آون توستر
    توستر خرید
    قیمت آون توستر فولن
    قیمت لوازم خانگی seranzo
    electric oven قیمت
    خرید توستر ارزان
    خرید اینترنتی توستر پارس خزر
    قیمت توسترلمسی

    REPLY

Top News: Business