Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Baker helps farmers as vegetable prices plummet

GOING FOR A SONG:The baker, who purchased the cabbages for more than the market price, has also helped out banana growers by promoting banana cake

Staff Writer, with CNA

The owner of a bakery in Greater Taichung poses for a photo while holding cabbages outside his shop yesterday. The bakery is giving away a cabbage for every NT$100 spent in the bakery to help cabbage farmers through tough times.

Photo: CNA

A baker in Greater Taichung’s Dadu (大肚) area yesterday bought 10,000 cabbages from Yunlin County in an effort to help cabbage farmers, who have been hurt by low vegetable prices.

Baker Ho Cheng-tsung (何政聰) said customers would receive one free cabbage for every NT$100 purchase in his bakery.

The average wholesale price for vegetables has tumbled to a six-year low this year because of warmer weather after the Lunar New Year, resulting in a glut, with cabbages going for just NT$3 to NT$4 per kilo.

Ho said he was willing to do what he could to help the farmers out, even though the costs for his bakery business have risen as well.

Ho had also helped out when prices for bananas fell drastically, by promoting banana cakes.

He bought the cabbages at NT$5 per kilo — above the going price of NT$3 per kilo.

“It’s a shame that cabbages this good can’t fetch a good price,” he said.

“Increased overheads mean there will be some financial losses, but my 92-year-old father, a role-model farmer, has always said I should help farmers as much as possible,” Ho said, adding that he hoped his response would be followed by other acts of charity.

As the news of Ho’s promotion spread, customers trickled into his bakery. A custumer surnamed Su (蘇) said she was happy to get a head of cabbage for free by spending NT$120 at Ho’s bakery.

“Cabbages are in season and of good quality,” she said.

On Thursday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) also held a press conference in Taipei aimed at calling attention to the plight of farmers.

“The price of three cabbages is lower than the cost of a cup of instant noodles,” Liu said, adding that despite subsidies provided by the council, farmers were still experiencing huge losses.

In response, Juang Lao-dar (莊老達), a specialist with the Council of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Agency, said the council had already made announcements three times this year to limit planting, as well as launched subsidizing measures for registered farmers.

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