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Farmers cry over low lemon price

Farmers cry over low lemon price

Farmers cry over low lemon price

Farmers cried over low lemon prices, which dropped to NT$14 per kilogram this winter from more than NT$20 and NT$30 in the previous two winters, saying they “don’t want to be farmers in their next lives.”

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chen-ching said in a Tuesday's press conference that he had received quite a few appeals from local farmers, complaining about the low lemon purchasing prices offered by exporters that couldn’t compare to the near NT$100 per catty a few years ago when lemon was a hot commodity.

Su cited the farmers by saying the price is too low to break even.

The lemon prices are really low in this winter partly due to the increase of planting areas from 1,000 hectares to 2,000 hectares after the Morakot flood disaster, but mostly due to the exploitation of the exporters, Pingtung County’s Department of Agriculture said.

The exporters received lemon purchase orders of more than NT$60 per kilogram, but only bought from local farmers for more than NT$10 per kilogram, the department said.

The department said that it has been negotiating with exporters to buy higher from farmers, and asked lemon farmers' co-ops across the county not to sell lemons for unreasonably low prices.

Chuang Rei-chen, a consultant at a farmer’s co-op in Yenpu Townships, said that overproduction from last summer resulting in overstocking of fresh lemon juice and less lemon exports to China at the end of last year have contributed to the low prices.

Agriculture and Food Agency, the Council of Agriculture dispatched personnel to Pingtung County on Monday to ask the local government to promote lemon.

The county’s Department of Agriculture said it will hold a tropical agriculture fair to promote lemon and will promote the fruit at the rest areas of national highways and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department stores as well.