IN TAIWAN: Small Farm Planted To Small Mangoes Makes Big Income

Growing mango trees that have been dwarfed through drastic pruning is a money-maker for a 49-year-old farmer in Tainan, Taiwan. The farmer is Lee Yu Cheng who has rented a farm measuring 8,600 square meters that he planted to a new red mango variety called Ivan.

Jane Chen of Everbright posing among dwarf mango trees that are heavily laden with fruit.
Lee Yu Cheng, farm owner, shows a ripe fruit of Ivan.

The mango trees are planted about 4 meters apart so the farm has about 500 trees. Mr. Lee said that last year, he grossed NT$600,000 from his harvest from his 6-year-old trees. That’s equivalent to P1,080,000 in Philippine money at the current foreign exchange rate.

His farming operation has been a profitable one. Lee said he rents the farm for NT$50,000 a year and his inputs and labor cost him a total of another NT$50,000 for a total production cost equivalent to P180,000 in Philippine money. Hence, he netted the equivalent of P900,000 from that small farm last year. Of course, that’s not his only income for the year. After all, the mango farm does not require full-time attention every day.

A beautiful view of the dwarf mango trees. The fruits are bagged individually with a sturdy paper material.
The Philippine media people in the mango farm.

He said that when his trees will be 10 years old, he expects a much bigger income because each tree could yield 150 fruits that could weigh 40 kilos. That could give him more than double what he made from his 6-year-old trees last season.

Jane Chen with the ripe fruit she picked and kept for herself.
That’s me, Zac B. Sarian, with my ripe Ivan mango.

Mr. Lee follows TGAP or Taiwan’s Good Agriculture Practices. Every input that he applies to his organic mango trees is recorded and is checked by a government agency that makes sure the fruits are free of any chemical residue. He does not apply any chemical pesticide and fertilizers. The fruits are bagged with a strong paper material to protect them from fruitfly and other insect pests.

The Ivan variety is highly suitable for growing as dwarfed trees. They can be maintained as low-growing trees. The variety is fruitful and the eating quality is excellent. The fruit has a very nice flavor.

Ena Jane Javier posing with a three-year-old Ivan mango in fruit at the Dakeng Leisure Farm, also in Tainan.
We visited Mr. Lee’s Hsiao Chong Fruit Farm on June 12, 2017 together with other media people from the Philippines. We were invited by Calem Ngan of the Taiwan Leisure Farm Development Association in collaboration with Jane Cheng of Everbright Travel Agency.

By the way, June is the mango season in Taiwan and not far from the farm of Mr. Lee is a cozy place that serves what they call “Mango Shave Ice.” This is served in a bowl full of shaved ice and small chunks of ripe Ivan mango. It makes a super snack on a hot day.

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