Six new varieties of Taiwanese lychees have been planted at a Central Queensland farm as part of a trial that could see Queensland producers exporting the new lychees to global markets.

The planting is the latest stage of a project signed off 3 years ago during a TIQ trade delegation to Taiwan.

In 2016, Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Taiwan Agricultural and Research Institute to introduce 6 ‘super varieties’ of lychees from Taiwan to Queensland.

The institute, part of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (CoA), is a world leader in lychee research and development. But, with very limited space for agriculture, Taiwan decided to link with international partners to increase lychee production.

Thanks to the lobbying efforts of Murray Davis, then Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Taiwan, Queensland was chosen as Taiwan’s preferred global partner. Mr Davis worked diligently with both the Queensland and Australian lychee industries to promote Queensland as an ideal location to Taiwan CoA Deputy Minister Mr Junne-Jih Chen.

The resulting MOU now gives the Australian Lychee Growers Association exclusive access to these exciting new lychee varieties, and ensures Queensland is a leader in developing the world’s best lychee fruits.

Mr Chen was in Queensland in October this year for the tree-planting ceremony at Groves Grown Tropical Fruit farm in Yeppoon.

It will be 3 years before the Yeppoon plants bear fruit, and 4 or 5 years before commercial quantities are available.

But, says current Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Taiwan Patrick Hafenstein, if the plants can handle the Queensland climate they could create a new export opportunity for the state.

‘We could see a situation where Queensland farmers are growing Taiwanese lychees and exporting them into Asian and other markets,’ he said.

‘It could also create new job opportunities in regional Queensland.

‘Best of all, it means more people around the world will get to enjoy these amazing varieties of lychee.

‘It’s a testament to the commitment TIQ makes every day for Queensland businesses in global markets.’

Mr Hafenstein also visited the Yeppoon farm during Queensland Export Week in October to inspect the new varieties, which include Rose Red (also known as the zipper lychee), which is easier to peel than other varieties and has a longer shelf life.

Growing the lychees in Queensland means they could be in season for much longer. Fruit would be harvested in Queensland between November and February, and in Taiwan between May and August.

Groves Grown Tropical Fruit has been growing lychees, mangoes, avocadoes and other tropical fruit on its Bungundarra property at Yeppoon since the early 1980s.

Capitalising on Queensland’s agricultural export strengths is one of the priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.