Peaches and nectarines are summer favourites in Taiwan and demand has remained strong, in part, because of the country’s successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a USDA report, Taiwan’s peach and nectarine production imports are both set to rise in 2020.

Production is forecast to increase from 16,171 tonnes in 2019 to 19,000 tonnes in 2020 due to improved bearing. In 2019 production fell 28 per cent year-on-year due to poor pollination.

Growers have reported improved conditions in 2020 and concerns about the impact of Covid-19 have not materialised with zero cases domestic transmission recored in Taiwan in over 90 days (as of 7 August).

“As a result, Covid-19 has no impact on Taiwan’s local peach production in terms of labour or market/consumption disruption,” the USDA report said.

“According to the Taiwan Agro auction database, traded volume for domestic peaches and nectarines from April to July 2020 was up over 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.”

This consumption trend is also set to support a very slight increase in peach and nectarine imports, with imports forecast to reach 15,000 tonnes in 2020, up 190 tonnes from 2019.

Through the first six months of 2020 the country’s imports have reached 6,276 tonnes, up 26 per cent from the same period last year due to good production in the western US.

This comes as a positive sign for US exporters who managed to grow their market share in 2019 to 77 per cent.

This came at the expense of Chile, which provides counter-seasonal supply to the US and faced economic and production issues. Its market share dropped from 25 per cent in 2018 to 20 per cent in 2019.

Even with Taiwan’s successful response to Covid-19, the report said the way consumers buy their fruit has adjusted to the pandemic in Taiwan.

“While wet markets still play a sizeable role in retail, hypermarkets are slowly beginning to dominate the fruit trade in Taiwan. Covid-19 has posed unique challenges to traditional in-store marketing events, so many stores have turned to online marketing and e-commerce,” the report said.

“Home delivery has rapidly increased since Covid-19, as have trends for Taiwan producers to market to consumers themselves in farm-to-table type promotions.”