Tuesday, 29 November 2011

News Brief: Fruit price becomes election issue

The real problem with the nation’s agricultural sector is an imbalance between supply and demand and the government’s inability to resolve the matter, Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party said yesterday, the Taipei Times reports (full article here).

The latest spat between political parties was initiated by a fall in the price of persimmons, but using a calendar printed with a dozen types of locally grown fruits that have plunged in price this year, the DPP accused Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) government of incompetance.
Ma had earlier said that the DPP was citing incorrect information to mislead the public ahead of next year’s presidential and legislative elections.

But the DDP said prices for guavas in Changhua (彰化), longans in Taichung (台中) and Nantou (南投), persimmons in Taitung (台東), as well as tangerines in Yunlin (雲林) had all fallen.

The real issue was not the price paid by shoppers in markets (as quoted by Ma), but the price that growers obtained, and the comparison of that price with their costs of production, DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said during a press conference.

The DPP caucus called on Ma to tackle the supply imbalance problem immediately and adopt a “95 percent mechanism” in which the government would purchase farm produce at 95 percent of the production cost whenever the selling price fell below specific prices monitored by the government.

Fruit imports from China between January and last month showed a 71 percent increase in comparison with the same period last year, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said, adding that the drop in prices could be because of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between Taiwan and China in June last year.

Text and photos copyright Taipei Times

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