Hokuto Corp., a Japanese mushroom-growing company, signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to invest NT$1.25 billion (US$43.1 million) to establish its second mushroom farm in Taiwan.
The new facility, slated to finish construction in the fall of 2012, will expand Hokuto's mushroom production in Taiwan to 3,200 tons per year from the present 1,100 tons, as well as create 72 jobs. "Our mushroom sales in Taiwan have become far better than our expectations over the past three years, so we decided to expand our production by setting up a new plant here," Hokuto President Masayoshi Mizuno said at a signing ceremony.
"Taiwan has high-quality labor and a complete infrastructure such as logistics and power supplies, which are critical to the cultivation and sale of mushrooms," Mizuno said.
The Nagano-based firm set up a branch in December 2008 at Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park in southern Taiwan, focusing on the production and marketing of mushrooms. In March this year, the company upgraded its Taiwanese branch into a wholly owned subsidiary, Taiwan Hokuto Corp., with paid-in capital of NT$700 million.
"We plan to build Taiwan into a regional operations base for our sales in China and Southeast Asia," Mizuno said. Currently, Hokuto has 29 mushroom farms in Japan producing 60,000 tons annually, while the potential market demand in China is 40 times larger than that figure, Mizuno noted.
He said the company is also considering setting up a farm in Malaysia. Founded in 1964, Hokuto accounts for about 30 percent of Japan's mushroom market, and the company has four subsidiaries in Japan, Taiwan and the United States, employing over 900 people.