Journal directory listing - Volume 11-20 (1966-1975) - Volume 20 (1975)

The Expansion and Changing Location of Banana Production in Taiwan
Author: Chug Ru Ho


Banana production for export from Taiwan in the early 190's first developed due to encouragement from the Japanese govern-ment. After the dislocations of World War II and ensuing civil war had ended, the re-opening of the Japanese market to the unrestri-cted importation of bananas in 1963 provided great impetus to Tai-wan's banana industry. A dramatic expansion in production occur-red both in the west-central area and especially in the secondary producing area in southwestern Taiwan, making bananas the is-land's most important export crop. Estimation of Japan's projected consumption of bananas indicates an increase in demand which means a continuing market for banana exports and the production of foreign exchange.
Taiwan is by far the major exporter of bananas in Asia. Fol-lowing the lifting of restrictions in Japan in 1963, export volume from Taiwan rose from 132,489 metric tons in 1963 to 460,094 metric tons in 1965 and 653,800 in 1967. No other countries in this part of the world are of major importance as far as banana export is concerned. Total demand for bananas in Japan is pro-jected to grow by 3.7 to 4.8 percent annually during the period 1967 to 1972. In addition to population growth, projected to be 1.1
percent per year, the banana consumption per capita in Japan is expected to rise 2.3 to 3.4 percent per year on the average. Hence the future for the export of Taiwan bananas to Japan seems bright. At present, the total area planted in bananas in Taiwan is about 44,000 hectares which accounts for only about 4.9 percent of the total cultivated land on the island. While land is a limiting factor on the expansion of banana production, there is still a large area of sloping grasslands which could be made available for pro-duction; but, as mentioned previously, the extent of future develop-ment of Taiwan's banana industry will be mainly determined by de-mand on the export markets. Besides the supply of land for banana production, there are still plenty of opportunities for increase of per hectare yields through technical improvements in methods of cultivation. During the five-year period, 1963-1967, the average yield of bananas was 15,252 kilograms per hectare. It is quite possible to increase the per hectare yield in Taiwan to about 20,000 kilograms in the next decade.
The banana industry in Taiwan during the last seventy years has shifted from production for local consumption only to production for international trade. It has also shifted its emphasis and lo-cation from hill lands in west-central Taiwan to the plains area in the southwestern part of the island. Factors of banana disease and low soil fertility in hill lands producing areas in contrast to the relative absence of disease and high fertility in former paddy lands in plains areas contributed directly to the shift in overall production emphasis from hill lands to plain. More rapid maturing of banana plants in the southwestern area was another factor con-tributing to the change in location of production.

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