Taiwanese banana industry woes

For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia
Emily French

BY EMILY FRENCH

Taiwanese banana industry woes

Banana growers look for product to increase local consumption akin to the popular pineapple cake

Taiwanese banana industry woes

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The fortunes for Taiwan's banana industry are looking poor, with a sharp fall in exports and decrease in returns farmers receive for their produce.

While the Taiwan Banana Research Institute wants to market the banana as a luxury item, particular the Cavendish Pei-Chiao variety most commonly grown in Taiwan, for which consumers will pay a premium.

They have also aimed to discover a popular product to encourage banana consumption, like the pineapple cake that proved so profitable for the pineapple industry.

However, their efforts thus far have been unsuccessful.

The country's surplus bananas have also been turned into chips, puddings and a local liquor.

One baker famous for winning international competitions including France’s Coupe Louis Lesaffre, Wu Pao-chun, has created his own version of banana bread as a tribute to farmers.

It uses sliced rather than mashed bananas and is available for purchase at his Kaohsiung bakery and online, although it cannot be shipped as the fruit will lose its texture and flavour.

“People in Asian countries aren’t used to baked goods made with bananas. They have to become accustomed to the flavor, which we hope to do by gradually promoting our banana bread,” Pao-chun told the New York Times.

The director of the Taiwan Banana Research Institute, Chao Chih-ping, believes that researchers could extract tryptophan, an amino acid, from surplus bananas for use as an antidepressant. Peels may also be a source of antioxidants and fibre can be harvested from stems and turned into textiles.

 

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