Thu, Aug 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Banana alliance planned by COA

Staff Writer, with CNA

Agricultural authorities are working to create an alliance of banana exporters in an effort to deal with the long-running issue of stagnant summer banana sales.

Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) said yesterday that about 12 major agricultural export businesses will meet in a week’s time to plan for the proposed alliance.

“It is hoped such an alliance will be formed before the end of August” so that it can handle issues pertaining to bananas harvested in autumn, Chen said.

Bananas have been one of Taiwan’s key agricultural exports, with neighboring Japan being the main market. However, banana exports have dropped in past years because of competition from other countries, including China.

Sales have been particularly hard-hit in summer months because the fruit ripens fast in the heat and does not compete well with other, more juicy, summer fruits.

With banana prices on the domestic market falling consistently every year, farmers have been appealing to the government for help in finding a long-term solution.

In a meeting with representatives of 12 local export companies earlier yesterday, Chen said he gained support for the idea of setting up an association to deal with issues concerning banana exports and marketing.

The companies all agreed that the establishment of such an association will prevent price competition among them in the overseas markets, the minister said.

Apart from exporters, the relevant agencies under the council will also help to establish the banana association, he said.

According to the council’s statistics, Taiwan exported 6,195 tonnes of bananas valued at US$9.5 million in the first six months of the year. On average, the bananas were sold at a price of US$1.53 per kilogram.

Last year, banana exports were 11,302 tonnes with a value of US$13.42 million and an average price of US$1.19 per kilogram, the statistics showed. Last year’s exports were slightly higher than in 2009 and 2008, but were much lower than the period prior to 2008 when they averaged around 15,000 tonnes a year, the data showed.

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