A 66-year-old man was arrest in Yunlin County on April 18 for stealing bananas from plantations, UDN reported. The man was caught on a motorbike with a scythe he allegedly used to steal bananas from trees.
Local farmers alerted police and set up surveillance in the area to track the thief, who stashed the goods in a warehouse. The local fruit production director said that there were six instances of theft last year, and crops were affected by the two typhoons as well, which led to price increases. However, despite the value and demand for bananas, the farmers have had limited supply.
The alleged thief denied any wrongdoing, but police said he confessed after being presented with evidence.
The average retail price for bananas in Taiwan is NT$73/kg. Taiwan was once known as the Banana Kingdom, as it produced more than 400,000 tons per year, dating back to 1967, according to the Council of Agriculture. This led to the founding of the Taiwan Banana Research Institute in 1970. As CommonWealth Magazine notes, more bananas are currently sold at 7-Eleven than Taiwan exports each year. The island exported 4,000 tons of bananas in 2014, and accounted for 1% of the market in Japan.