The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday urged the government to review state-funded fruit exporter Mitagri Co, saying that it has no strategy to help domestic farmers amid a Chinese ban on pineapple imports from Taiwan.
The Chinese government on Friday last week announced that the imports would be suspended from Monday, citing the detection of pests on Taiwanese pineapples on multiple occasions last year and this year.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei that Mitagri, which exports pineapples, has not told the public how it would help domestic farmers sell their fruit in countries other than China.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Then-premier Lin Chuan (林全) in 2016 at a news conference announced the foundation of the firm, Wang said.
Mitagri was established under the guidance of the Council of Agriculture on Dec. 5, 2016, and it was described as the “national agricultural marketing team,” in a statement released by the council.
However, in response to questions about Mitagri’s operations, the council in 2019 said that the firm was funded by a group of private companies and foundations.
Taiwanese were told that Mitagri would mainly import and export agricultural products and technology, facilitate overseas investment, and help Taiwanese farmers sell their fruit in emerging markets, such as Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Wang said.
However, the company has been performing poorly and has not helped Taiwanese growers expand to international markets, she said.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office, Taiwan’s agricultural exports have relied heavily on the Chinese market, the KMT said in a statement, citing council data.
The percentage of Taiwanese pineapples shipped to China has increased over the past five years, while shipments to Japan have dropped, the KMT said.
Mitagri posts losses and performs poorly, Wang said.
“Why does such a company continue to exist?” she asked.
The KMT said that the company had lost NT$78 million (US$2.76 million) since it was founded.
“As Taiwanese have been very enthusiastic to buy pineapples, this crisis should pass,” Wang said.
However, the government should not rely on the public to solve such crises, and the distribution of the nation’s agricultural products should be reviewed, she said.
The government has the responsibility to establish a stable, long-term channel for farmers to sell their products, she said.
Additional reporting by CNA
INTERNATIONAL WEED DAY: Advocates are to hold a demonstration to push for the decriminalization of marijuana and allowing its use for treatment of certain conditions It is time for Taiwanese society to examine the medical benefits of cannabis, in line with the international trend to lift restrictions on and decriminalize the use of marijuana, two legislators said yesterday, ahead of tomorrow’s “Rally for Equal Rights for Cannabis” in Taipei. Taiwan is one of a few countries holding a “420 International Weed Day” event — which usually takes place around the April 20 weekend — as most nations have canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said organizer Green Sensation, which is composed of doctors, lawyers and entertainers, among others. The group released a
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight
‘NOT ENTHUSIASTIC’: People who have been approved by the CECC as special cases who need to travel, such as foreign diplomats, would be able to receive a vaccine The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to the fourth priority group — people who need to travel abroad for special reasons — adding that out-of-pocket vaccines would be available from Wednesday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said although Taiwan’s COVID-19 vaccination program was on Monday expanded to include the top three groups in the priority list, people are still “not enthusiastic” about getting vaccinated. “Only 1,220 people received a vaccine shot on Tuesday, and a total of 27,113 people have received COVID-19 vaccination” so far, he
CAUTION: People should drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day, while men can eat pumpkin seeds to protect the prostate, a doctor in Taipei said Holding urine for long periods could lead to an atonic bladder, or could cause inflammation of the urinary tract, hematuria or renal retention, a urologist said. Chang Fu-chung (張甫仲), a doctor at Taipei Hospital’s Department of Urology, on Friday last week said that the hospital admitted a 38-year-old woman who complained of a sharp, stinging pain when urinating. Chang said he diagnosed her with urethritis, based on her symptoms and darker-colored urine. The top three groups of people who usually hold off going to the restroom are women, middle-aged and older people with prostatic hyperplasia, and those who fail to drink enough water