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Final policy review: Alternative risk management measures to import Lilium spp cut flowers from Taiwan

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1.5Climate in Taiwan’s production areas

The island of Taiwan has a climate characterised by tropical monsoon conditions. Annual rainfall is generally above 2000 mm in the lowlands and increases with altitude (Figure 3a). Rainfall occurs throughout the year, but may increase from July to September due to the typhoon season (BBC 2011). Winter in the north of the island is marked by more cloud and rain than the south of the island (BBC 2011). At lower elevations humidity increases during the summer months (BBC 2011). Lily production is concentrated, but not limited to, the middle and mid-west of the island; a number of producers grow in the mountainous interior and other parts of the island. The island shares the tropical monsoon climate experienced by the regions surrounding the South China Sea.

Figure 3 Climate in Taiwan: a) annual rainfall; b) January average temperatures; and c) July average temperatures (NICT 2009)

(a) b)c)

1.6Taiwan’s commercial production practices

1.6.1Pre-harvest production practices

Taiwan is proposing to export mainly Longiflorum (hybrids derived from L. longiflorum crossed with Asiatic hybrids) and Oriental hybrid lilies which are the main commercially cultured varieties in Taiwan, due to temperature limits. Growers also plant Orienpet hybrids derived from Oriental and Trumpet varieties. Lilium spp. cut flowers for export are hybrid species bred for their ornamental value and specific flower colour and patterns.

Export-quality lilies are produced from bulbs imported yearly to Taiwan mainly from the Netherlands and Chile, some from France and New Zealand, and are accompanied by phytosanitary certificate, stating that the bulbs are free from Ditylenchus dipsaci and Rhizoglyphus echinopus (bulb mite) during production in the field. New quarantine requirements for lily bulbs exported to Taiwan propose lily bulbs be virus free, and inspected or tested for Plantago asiatica mosaic virus (PlAMV) during production (WTO 2013). Similar draft requirements for Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV) have also been proposed (WTO 2012).

The bulbs are inspected on-arrival by BAPHIQ for freedom from regulated pests. Some bulb samples are sent to approved virus-testing laboratories. According to the virus test reports, few viruses are rarely found on the imported bulbs, and these include Lily mottle virus (LMoV) and Lily symptomless virus (LSV).

Plants are visually inspected in the field for freedom from disease symptoms and only disease free plants should be further selected for export.

1.6.2Cultivation practices

Growth of lily bulbs occurs in open fields under nets or in net-houses, and sometimes in glasshouses. These are not insect proof but allow for protection from direct sunlight. Lilies are grown in raised beds to prevent common rots and allow proper drainage. Watering, feeding and spraying treatments of plants are generally performed manually.

Pest management and general surveillance programs are applied for the production of Lilium species. Growers apply pest management measures in field as required in case a pest occurs in the field, and use chemical control or soil sterilisation for fungi and discard infected plants in case of viral infection. Growers use flooding and rotations with rice to manage soil borne diseases associated with lily bulbs. Other flowers are also grown at times in rotation with lilies (and can include Anthurium, Amaryllis, Liatris and other species).

BAPHIQ inspectors inspect the plants during their growth and supervise the packing of the plants for export. Exported plants are covered by BAPHIQ phytosanitary certification. BAPHIQ advised that they would not certify any plants that showed disease-like symptoms. However, no records are kept of these processes and generally rely on the grower’s experience and their knowledge of the crop.

The overall procedures in the packing house (which do not follow a one-way flow of the product) entail the following; harvesting (monitoring for diseased or stunted flowers), movement to packing houses, washing of the cut flowers, de-leafing, sorting and grading, cutting to length, bunching and sleeving, placing in cool room (in preservative solution), or packing then storing in cool room for movement to market or export. After harvest, flowers are pulsed and held at low temperature to extend vase life, by applying silver thiosulphate (STS) solution (BAPHIQ 2011a), which occurs usually within 12 hours if the cut flowers are destined for export. This is followed by phytosanitary certification and inspection by BAPHIQ.

1.7Taiwan’s export capability

1.7.1Production and exports

The total area of planted lilies in Taiwan is about 340 hectares with a total production volume of 5.8 million dozens in 2003 (CoA 2011).

Cultivation of lilies in Taiwan occurs in the cold areas of Nantou and Chiayi (1000 metres above sea level) in summer to supply local demand. During winter, lilies are produced in lowlands, primarily in Houli and Puli (CoA 2011). Taiwan’s market access proposal states that lilies in 2008 were grown over 331 hectares in Taichung county (220 ha), Nantou county (66 ha), and Changhua county (18 ha) (BAPHIQ 2009).

Taiwan’s export trade in lilies is well established (pers. comm. BAPHIQ). Taiwan’s leading export market for Lilium spp. cut flowers is Japan followed by Hong Kong, Singapore and other regional markets (Malaysia, Guam, and the Philippines). The export value of lilies is expected to continue to increase.

There are no specific export protocol requirements for Taiwan’s current exports to regional Asian markets other than inspection, and generally include a BAPHIQ-issued phytosanitary certificate.

Production facilities are currently able to demonstrate full trace back of exported plants to the original packing house (though some are used by more than one grower); however, flower cartons are identifiable to the packing house, allowing traceability of the pathway should any non-compliance issues be detected on arrival in Australia.

1.7.2Export season

Lilium spp. cut flowers are produced year round (as above). Exporting season includes November through April the next year (TFEA 1997).

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