TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Farmer Louis Hong (洪兆濡) in Wandan Township, Pingtung County, grows bananas that are so perfect many think they are plastic props, as he was recently awarded champion banana grower at a nationwide competition held in November.
Hong and seven other “expert banana growers” participated in the finals officiated by the Banana Strategic Alliance (BSA), which annually judges the quality of top domestically produced bananas and also conducts orchard evaluations. Hong’s bananas won over judges for golden, spotless peels and emerald green fruit stems, per Liberty Times.
Formerly an Acer employee, Hong decided to switch careers due to a love of farming, which he gained from his family as a third-generation banana farmer. He believes in the motto, "If farming is done well, one can achieve success."
Bananas so perfect people think they are plastic. (Taiwan Banana Research Institute photo)
Hong currently cultivates six hectares of bananas. He says the secret to success involves using high-quality banana seedlings from the Taiwan Banana Research Institute, using only organic fertilizers, and planting orchards with rows that facilitate transportation, harvesting, and management.
Another important aspect of banana cultivation, according to Hong, is sufficient sunlight and good ventilation in the orchard. Hong believes that if fellow farmers follow this guidance, each orchard can grow high-quality bananas.
Judging this year's competition is somewhat different than previous years, with fruit quality accounting for 50% of judging and orchard evaluation accounting for the remaining 50%. A group of eight finalists were selected from a total applicant field of 30 farmers.
Hong also received NT$10,000 (US$316) in prize money for winning the competition.