2016年1月7日 星期四

"Conventional Industries" (1)

I was thinking about translating another article from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Conventional Industries (一看就懂台灣博覽), but then I started to think that a) I probably don't have enough time to do it, and b) it would probably bore you.

Of course I realize that some of the things that interest me about Taiwan are completely boring to other people.  Take that article about Taiwan's pineapple industry, for instance.  I seriously thought it was fascinating, but when I talked to friends and coworkers about it all I got were comments like "Wow, that's really boring," or "Great, but I'm not interested in that."

So yeah, I know my interest in agriculture, metallurgy, and other local industries isn't everyone's cup of tea.  It's not even most people's cup of tea.  Oh, and while we're on the subject of tea, I read this other article... 

But no, I won't go there.  At least not today.  Discussions of where tea is grown, how tea leaves are processed, and the Taiwanese tea market can await another time.  As for today, let me just offer some facts that I thought were interesting from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Conventional Industries.

I. Agriculture 農業

   A. Rice 稻米

      1. There is a "Rice Agriculture Museum" 大甲稻米產業文化館 in Da Jia District 大甲區, Taichung City 台中市.

      2. Because farmers of organic rice do not use pesticides, ducks are often used to protect the rice plants from harmful insects.

   B. Tea 茶

      1. The first tea plants grown in Taiwan were brought over from Fujian Province 福建省, in Mainland China.

      2. The earliest records of tea production in Taiwan date back to the 1700s, in Nantou 南投.

      3. Areas with a temperature range between 16 and 22 C, and with a yearly rainfall between 2000 and 2500 cc are ideal for growing tea.

      4. There is a Tea Museum 坪林茶業博物館 in Pinglin, not far from one of the Makong Gondola 貓空纜車 stops. 

   C. Pineapple 鳳梨

      1. Jang Ching-jin 張清勤, a farmer in Jiayi County 嘉義縣, is known as "The Father of Fresh Pineapples" 台灣鮮食鳳梨之父 for his contributions to Taiwan's pineapple industry.

      2. There are 11 types of pineapple commonly seen in Taiwan.

   D. Tobacco 菸

      1. Tobacco was introduced to Taiwan over 400 years ago, during the Ming Dynasty, though it wasn't harvested on a large scale until the 1800s.

      2. Japanese efforts to cultivate tobacco on the east coast of Taiwan were part of their strategy to settle the area.

      3. The domestic market for Taiwanese tobacco shrank dramatically after Taiwan ratified the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1987.

      4. Before the GATT deluged the domestic market with cheaper American cigarettes, Hualien 花蓮, Pingtung 屏東, Taichung 台中, Jiayi 嘉義, and Yilan 宜蘭 were prominent tobacco-producing areas.

   E. Coffee 咖啡

      1. It was the Japanese who first introduced coffee to Taiwan.  It was first grown in Hengchun 恆春, where the "Hengchun Tropical Garden" 恆春熱帶植物園 now stands.

      2. Following the liberation of Taiwan from Japanese occupation, coffee was first cultivated in Pingtung 屏東 and Taitung 台東 Counties.  It was later introduced to other areas. 

      3. The opening of the Gu Keng Instant Coffee 古坑咖啡 plant in Yunlin County 雲林縣 was a major impetus for the expansion of Taiwan's coffee industry.

     4. In 2003 the Yunlin County Government 雲林縣政府 and Janfusan Fancy World 劍湖山世界 began sponsoring the Taiwan Coffee Festival 台灣咖啡節 in that part of Taiwan.

   F. Sugar 糖

      1. The "red" variety of sugar cane was also brought to Taiwan by the Japanese.  In this case the seeds were imported from New Guinea.  The "white" variety of sugar cane was present in Taiwan much earlier.

      2. Sugar was a major industry during the Japanese occupation, and well into the early years of the Chinese Republic.  The development of sugar refineries in many parts of Taiwan also spurred the development of the rail system on the west coast.

      3. The Taiwan Sugar Corporation 台灣糖業公司 (台糖) , was heir to the system of plantations, refineries, and transport that the Japanese created.  It remains a major business interest on the island.

      4. Many of the old sugar refineries built by the Japanese are now run as tourist attractions. 

   G. Wine/Liquor/Beer 酒

      1. According to written records, the earliest type of wine drunk in Taiwan was fermented sugar cane juice.

      2. Up until 2002, the Taiwanese government owned a monopoly over the production of alcoholic beverages in Taiwan.  Taiwan's inclusion into the WTO brought an end to this monopoly.

      3. The Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL) 台灣菸酒股份有限公司, which once enjoyed the above-mentioned monopoly, dates back to 1947.

      4. After the 9-21 Earthquake, Taichung 台中, Miaoli 苗栗, and Nantou Counties 南投縣 created the Da Hu Liquor Village 大湖酒莊 and 9 other "agricultural liquor villages" 休閒酒莊 for the promotion and sale of local liquors.

      5. The distillery in Puli 埔里, Nantou County 南投縣 dates back to 1917.  It was almost closed down in the 1990s, but has been revived as a tourist attraction.

      6. Taiwan's first brewery (建國啤酒廠) was built in 1920.  The remains of this brewery are to be found in the Taipei Beer Factory 台北啤酒工廠

      7. The brewery in Jhunan 竹南, Miaoli County 苗栗縣 was once the largest in Southeast Asia.

II.Forestry 林業

      1. Logging was outlawed in Taiwan in 1971.

      2. Until the end of the Ching Dynasty 清朝 deer hides were an important trade item.  The importance of this trade is reflected in the use of the word "deer" (鹿) in many place names.  Luye 鹿野 in Taitung County 臺東縣 and Lu Gang 鹿港 in Chang Hua County 彰化縣 are two prominent examples.

      3. The camphor 樟腦 trees which once grew all over Taiwan were a prized commodity.  The wood from these trees was used to build ships, make soap, and their oil can be used as a mosquito repellent.  Since logging was illegal in most of Japan, harvesting of this and other kinds of trees was a major industry during the Japanese Imperial Administration.

      4. The timber industry around Alishan 阿里山 was one of the reasons a rail line was built in that part of Taiwan.

Related Entries:

台灣鳳梨的歷史 A History of Taiwanese Pineapples
雲豹 - 從動物王國上消失的傳奇 "The Clouded Leopard - From the Animal Kingdom to the Realm of Legend"
Robert Swinhoe
Train Stations, Old Streets, and Academies 舊火車站, 老街, 跟書院