The nation’s pork supply is sufficient to meet increased demand around the Dragon Boat Festival in two weeks’ time, while the price of bananas has begun to recover, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
Demand for pork generally rises before the festival, which is celebrated annually on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and falls on June 18 this year, as many Taiwanese use pork and other ingredients to make zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves).
The average price of pork yesterday surged to NT$78.74 per kilogram from NT$70.16 per kilogram on May 21, council data showed.
The breeding rate of sows has been low in recent years due to hot weather, and piglets are growing slower due to poor appetite in the heat of summer, Yunlin County Meat Market Co general manager Lee Mou-jen (李謀仁) said on Friday.
The pork supply is higher this year than in previous years, with the number of supplied pigs reaching 548,150 this month, the council said in a statement, adding that an additional 10,000 tonnes of pork was imported between January and last month.
The council has told meat markets to be more careful in allocating pork supplies, and has asked state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp — the nation’s biggest pork supplier — to release an additional 3,000 pigs to the market one week before the festival, it said.
In related news, the plunging price of bananas has slightly recovered over the past week.
Due to an oversupply of bananas this year, their price had dropped to NT$10.4 per kilogram in Taipei’s wholesale markets on Thursday, but rose to NT$11.5 per kilogram yesterday, which was still much lower than the average of NT$44.4 in June last year, council data showed.
The council would work harder to introduce Taiwanese bananas to foreign markets and encourage Taiwanese to buy more fruit, council Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) said.
To prevent farmers from growing the same fruit, the Agriculture and Food Agency has set up a production and marketing information platform, where farmers can find the production status of certain crops and adjust their production plans accordingly, Lin added.
I-Mei Foods Co said it is to purchase 100 tonnes of class-A bananas at NT$16.5 per kilogram, adding that it plans to develop new banana products with a higher value.
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
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