Farmers in central Taiwan confident Japan will love their 'Oolong Bananas'

The year's fist shipment of six tons shipped on Feb. 12, bound for Japan

File Photo: Banana growers in central Taiwan

File Photo: Banana growers in central Taiwan (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Banana growers in Yunlin County, Taiwan shipped the year’s first batch of special “Oolong Bananas” headed for the Japanese market on Feb. 12.

The banana, a bright healthy yellow when ripe, and they get the name “Oolong Bananas” from their sweet aroma, which sets them apart from other bananas, and proved highly attractive to Japanese traders.

The Citong Fruit and Vegetable Cooperative in Yunlin (雲林縣莿桐果菜生產合作社) that is marketing the bananas hopes the bananas will do well on the Japanese market , which would help boost sales for banana growers in the region.

The workers eagerly worked through the weekend to have the six ton shipment ready for today, reports Liberty Times.

Su Mingli (蘇明利), the chairman of the Cooperative, says that the bananas from Yunlin are a world class variety, with a bright color, and a firm peel that is not easily damaged.

Their rich flavor and aroma makes them stand out from other varieties commonly marketed in Japan, which makes them highly sought by Japanese consumers.

According to the report from Liberty Times, a supervisor with the Council of Agriculture, Chen Junyan (陳俊言) said that bananas are the most important agriculture export to Japan, and in the past Taiwan once exported over 20,000 metric tons in a year.

However in recent years, competition with banana exporters from Southeast Asia, and an increase in domestic consumers caused a drastic reduction in banana exports to Japan, reportedly only exceeding 1,000 metric tons.

Now it appears there is an incredibly lucrative opening for the banana growers of Yunlin and Taiwan. If the production supply in Taiwan remains stable with Japanese consumer demand, then Japanese importers will expect 10 metric tons a week through the rest of spring.

Liberty Times reports that growers and exporters in Yunlin are confident that things will go smoothly, and that Taiwan may once again revive its reputation as the “Banana Kingdom.”