《TAIPEI TIMES》 China pineapple ban offset in four days
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung, third row, second left, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, third row, third left, Premier Su Tseng-chang, third row, fourth left, and other government officials and lawmakers attend a news conference in Taipei yesterday by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chou Chun-mi, third row, fourth right, to promote pineapples from Pingtung County. Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support
By Yang Yuan-ting and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture （COA） said yesterday.
China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns.
Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports.
“Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister Chen Chi-chung （陳吉仲） said, after announcing a total of 41,687 tonnes in domestic orders over the past four days.
The council had initially planned to boost domestic sales by pushing for the purchase of 20,000 tonnes of processed pineapples for use in various food products, but orders exceeded expectations following an outpouring of support from individuals, companies and activist groups.
More than 180 companies ordered 7,187 tonnes of whole pineapples; 19 companies ordered 15,000 tonnes of processed pineapples; 14 beverage shops ordered 4,500 tonnes; wholesalers and street market vendors ordered 10,000 tonnes; and exporters and overseas groups ordered 5,000 tonnes, the council said.
“We are also looking at boosting exports to countries other than China. Last year, we sold US$131 million of fruit to China and US$52 million to all other countries combined,” Chen said.
At 71 percent of total fruit exports, sales to China last year dropped slightly from 2016, when 77 percent of Taiwan’s fruit exports went to China, he said.
Meanwhile, the Canadian and US representative offices in Taipei on Monday posted messages on social media with the tag #FreedomPineapple, and called on people to support Taiwan’s pineapple growers.
The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei （CTOT） posted a photograph on Facebook of staff members standing around two Hawaiian pizzas with the message: “At CTOT we love pineapples on our pizza, especially Taiwanese pineapples!”
The post says Hawaiian pizza is a Canadian invention, first made in 1962 by Canadian chef Sam Panopoulos at his restaurant in Chatham, Ontario.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Karen Yu （余宛如） commented on the post, thanking the CTOT for its support.
“Taiwanese pineapples have the taste of freedom. I believe you will enjoy them,” she wrote.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times