HUANG SHI WEI is the owner of the only organic grape farm in Taiwan, the Naimi Grape Leisure Farm in Dachun township, Changhua County. Huang, now 60, has been planting grapes for 40 years. In 30 years, he was growing his grapes the conventional way, using pesticides to control diseases and chemical fertilizers to nourish his plants.
Later, he realized that the conventional way of growing grapes was harmful to the environment and to the farmer himself. So he decided to shift to organic farming. It took him seven years to convert his farm into an organic farm. He enriched the soil with organic fertilizers that include beneficial organisms and enzymes.
In the seven years that took him to shift to organic farming, he did not make money from his farm. Today, however, his organic farming is paying off. He is harvesting at least 2,000 kilos from each hectare of his 2.6-hectare farm.
Huang exports most of his harvest to Hong Kong where he gets paid NT$370 per kilo. This is almost four times the usual price of NT100 per kilo of the traditionally produced grapes. Huang’s grapes produce big fruits that are sweet, juicy and safe to eat.
The plants are trellised and each fruit bunch is protected from rain and too much sun by a sturdy white sheet atop each bunch.
Our group consisting of four media persons and several travel agents from the Philippines visited Huang’s farm courtesy of the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association. Leo Fang, international marketing manager of TLFDA, was very helpful throughout our visit to eight leisure farms on June 21-25, 2015.