TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Following a Taiwanese food giant's announcement to procure 100 tons of bananas from local banana growers struggling with low prices, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has revealed a string of plans to help farmers fight with massive oversupply and unreasonable low prices.
Taiwanese banana growers have been slashing prices amid massive oversupply recently, with top-graded (Grade A) bananas falling to NT$6 per kilogram and lowest-graded (Grade C) to NT$1 per kilogram, according to an agricultural official.
CEO of I-Mei Food Co., which decided last Friday, June 1, to purchase 100 tons of top-graded bananas (in box) at a price nearly three times higher than the current market price, has joined the government's banana price stabilization initiative and announced Monday to buy another 100 tons of bananas to tackle the problem.
COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) explained that banana plantation area has reached 15,000 acres this year, which is slightly smaller than last year, and the total production has decreased by 1 percent from last year's 190,000 tons. However, its market price remains low this year.
Chen said the council will continue to turn extra bananas into an export cash cow and sell them to Japan, the Middle East, and other overseas markets, with target export volume to be revised up to 1,000 tons from 500 tons. Marketing measures will be implemented at different local hyper- and supermarket chains to drive demands.
I-Mei CEO Luis Ko said that the company is willing to help local farmers. When asked by media about the purpose of the newly procured bananas, Ko said that the company will store them in freezer and develop new banana products to add values into them. "There should be more possibilities in addition to banana pastry, dried banana, and banana chips," said Ko.
After I-Mei's initial procurement plan was made known to the public last week, some netizens enthusiastically came up with ideas for new banana products for the company, such as banana cake, banana soybean milk, banana milk, banana ice cream, banana pudding, and exotic Thai-style banana pancake.