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Taiwan seeds fit mainland farms

LUO Meijuan is welcoming the first harvest season in her 2-hectare mulberry orchard where juicy, dark purple fruit bends the branches all over the hill.

Her garden produces almost 1 tonne of mulberry fruits a day in the month-long harvest.

"When I first arrived, it was a deserted hill covered by wild grass everywhere. No water and electricity," said the 57-year-old woman who runs an agricultural technology firm in Taipei. "I am so happy that things move ahead smoothly. This is my first project in the mainland."

She opened the orchard two years ago inside an investment park in the suburb of Zhangzhou City in east China's Fujian Province, which was designed to attract Taiwan agriculture projects.

The idea to set up such investment parks was first put forward at the first Cross-Straits Economic and Trade Forum in 2006 as a measure to promote economic cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, and introduce the island's advantaged agricultural business into the mainland. Now there are 11 such parks in the mainland.

"The park provided some preferential policies for small businesses like mine, such as tax cuts and free use of land. It is attractive," she said.

"Here is a very good place for eco-friendly farms. Local farmers maintained the agricultural tradition very well. People are willing to protect the land and water source for good farm produce instead of building factories to earn more money.

"Taiwan farmers did quite well in developing more efficient and green agriculture. I plan to introduce our experience here."

Luo brought mulberry seedlings from Taiwan, as well as new farming technologies and garden management. At first, she found a bit difficult to communicate with the four local farmers she hired to help plant mulberry trees.

"They have their own way of growing plants. They did not like 'city people' like me to interfere in farming," she said.

She sometimes had to force them to adopt her way.

"I told them how important it was to test the water quality, to use the least pesticide and to use organic fertilizer. Some time later, they understood my way and we began to work together happily."


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