Taiwan unveils new competitive soybean strain


TAIPEI — The Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station in southern Taiwan recently unveiled a new strain of soybean that it hopes can be sold to local and foreign markets by the end of 2013, a researcher said Monday.

“Kaohsiung 12,” nicknamed “Emerald,” which is the new strain to have been developed this year, but which has not been genetically modified, has higher yield and bigger beans, said Chou Kuo-lung, an associate researcher at the station.

The new strain can yield at least 25 percent more than the current mainstream “Kaohsiung 9,” he told CNA, adding that its greater production could further enhance its competitiveness on the international stage.

Vegetable soybeans, or green soybeans (immature ones in their green pods), are popular exports to Japan. Taiwan produced some 70,000 tons of green soybeans in 2012, with nearly half exported to the neighboring country, Chou said.

The export output of green soybeans touched a record of US$71.6 million last year, up 80 percent from about US$40 million five years ago, according to government statistics.