Banana is one of the major fruit crops in Taiwan, and ‘Pei-Chiao’, in the group of Cavendish AAA, is the most popular variety cultivated by banana growers since the 20th century. Pei-Chiao is managed under subtropical climate and its excellent eating quality (especially if harvested during spring and fall) has been favoured by the Japanese market; this led to the development of Taiwan banana industry towards an export-oriented trade in the past. A record high of 40,000 ha acreage of banana plantations established around the island of Taiwan, and an annual banana export of 0.4 M mt to Japan was made.
Taiwan used to be one of the top four countries shipping banana abroad during 1960s. However, Cavendish banana export is reduced to less than 10,000 mt now due to several limiting factors such as high labour cost, typhoon damage, incidence of Fusarium wilt, which is caused by Race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp cubense (Foc), and the unstable supply and poor fruit quality. Because of the fact that more than 10 000 banana growers make a living from this industry, how to improve banana production capacity and, hopefully, to sustain the Taiwan banana industry up to the future is quite important.
According to 2009 Agricultural Statistics, Council of Agriculture in Taiwan, the total economic growing acreage of banana is 12 333 ha, spreading from the center to the south and from the south to the eastern part of Taiwan. The altitude and longitude of banana growing areas in Taiwan is limited between 22-240 and 121-1220, with elevation from sea level to mountain area. Kaohsiung and Pintung counties, which are located in the southern region with plain alluvial soil and affected mainly by the humid and warm climate, occupy 43.6% of total banana growing acreage, and have been
the production center of banana in Taiwan for more than 40 years (Figure 71). Nantou and Chia-Yi counties, which are located in the central and mountain area in Taiwan, share 34.8% of banana growing acreage and are second in volume of annual production. The eastern coast areas only share 4% acreage for total banana production.
Currently, the annual banana production of Taiwan is around 200 000 mt, and more than 90% of banana produced are consumed in the domestic market.