Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 2 News List

COA vows pineapple price action

CHIAYI CONCERN:Minister Chen Chi-chung said using lower-quality pineapples in processed food rather than selling them at markets would help increase prices

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A grower holds pineapples in Chiayi County yesterday.

Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsun, Taipei Times

The price of pineapples in Chiayi County would rise as the government steps up promotion of exports and beverages, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday, rejecting media reports that prices were collapsing.

The Chinese-language China Times on Sunday reported that pineapple prices in the county had collapsed, with the fruit selling for NT$5, NT$3 and even NT$1 per jin (600g).

Chen yesterday met with Chiayi growers to promote the council’s policy to elevate prices, alongside Chiayi County Commissioner Weng Chang-liang (翁章梁) and Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), both Democratic Progressive Party members.

The biased report has affected growers, who produce quality pineapples, just as media did last week when they cited a farmer’s false claim that last year he dumped more than 2 million jin of pomeloes in the Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫) due to low prices, Chen said.

Due to warmer weather, the harvest season for pineapples arrived 20 days earlier than previously, while some fruit was not sweet enough to sell at full price, Agriculture and Food Agency official Hsu Hui-fei (徐輝妃) said.

Pineapples sell for NT$6 to NT$7 per jin in Chiayi, while prices are NT$9 to NT$13 per jin in Pingtung County, Tainan and Kaohsiung, where the weather is hotter, helping to produce sweeter fruit, Hsu said.

The council since last month has been buying lower-quality pineapples to be used in processed products at NT$5 per kilogram, with the rate rising to NT$8 per kilogram two weeks ago, Chen said, adding that the program is to last until May.

It is consulting beverage and snack producers about possible uses for the fruit, he said.

Prices will surely improve with lower-quality pineapples being used in processed food rather than being sold at markets, Chen said, adding that he would visit the county again if prices did not improve.

Pineapple exports have exceeded 11,000 tonnes so far this year, after there was only 3,000 tonnes exported in the same period last year, he said, adding that full-year exports should reach 40,000 tonnes.

With some growers complaining that companies using large parcels of land leased from Taiwan Sugar Corp have produced too many pineapples, Chen said the council would restrict production at large operations.

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