Tokyo, Oct 12 (IEBusiness) Taiwan and Japan have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand bilateral agricultural cooperation to Japan’s Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures by promoting exports of Taiwan-grown bananas for Japanese consumers and school lunches, according to Taiwan’s Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture, which signed the MOU with the Taiwan-Japan Goodwill Ambassador Association in Toyama Prefecture.
The MOU is a step forward for the council’s efforts to drive demand for Taiwanese bananas among the younger generation in Japan, according to Agriculture and Food Agency Director-General Hu Jong-I, who represented the Council of Agriculture at the signing ceremony.
By boosting banana exports for use in school lunches and sales by convenience stores in Toyama Prefecture, the Council of Agriculture hopes the MOU will help deepen awareness of Taiwan among Japanese schoolchildren while fostering broader appreciation in Japan for Taiwanese bananas, which have long been popular among older Japanese and account for a major part of Taiwan’s overall fruit exports.
To distinguish them from Filipino bananas, Taiwan-grown bananas have been marketed in Japan for their high quality, and the MOU looks to bring premium bananas grown in the mountainous areas of central Taiwan to Toyama and Ishikawa Prefectures, where Taiwan bananas have not previously been available to consumers.
Moreover, in anticipation of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Taiwan’s Executive Yuan has set a goal of promoting premium Taiwanese agricultural products at the Tokyo Games, and the Council of Agriculture is negotiating with Japanese Olympic officials over the procurement of Taiwan-grown bananas and other produce to meet the needs of Olympic athletes and spectators.
To further expand Taiwan’s share of the Japanese market for imported agricultural goods, the Council of Agriculture has been working with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan since 2016 to promote the sale of Taiwanese bananas in Shizuoka and Tokyo, and to put the bananas on school lunch menus.