B-a-n-a-n-a-…Let Those Imports Grow

The Federal Government has paved the way to allow banana imports from the Philippines which has sent the Queensland banana benders into a frenzy and seen the IGA grocery group announce that it will ban them in its stores.

One of the biggest fears from the local industry is the potential to bring in the devastating Black Sigatoka disease which can reduce a banana plant’s crop by half.  But apparently Black Sigatoka disease is not deemed of sufficient concern by Biosecurtiy Australia who has the ultimate say. Understandably the Aussie banana growers are less than convinced, given that Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) will be charged with ensuring the integrity of the banana bio security. Remember the disaster of the recent equine influenza outbreak. Be afraid – be very, very afraid…

Meanwhile the Australian Chile Free Trade Agreement was signed last week which is good news for exporters and wannabe exporters to Chile, especially those in meat, wine and dairy. Trade between the two countries stands at more than $850 million annually, but with any free trade agreement it is a two way street. Maybe they have got some spare bananas they could send our way too?

Dairy giant Fonterra is now out of the Chinese domestic dairy market. SanLu, the Chinese dairy company in which Fonterra had a 43% stake reputedly worth $201 million, has been sold at auction at the Intermediate People’s Court of Shijiazhuang. SanLu was involved with the melamine-in-milk poisonings last year that killed six babies and made 29,000 others sick. The company’s former General Manager and chairwoman was sentenced to life imprisonment.

And while Fonterra bites the bullet on its disastrous Sino-lacto foray, China is preparing to “bite the wax tadpole”. Advertising urban legend would have it that an early Chinese translation of the word Coca Cola was literally: “bite the wax tadpole”.  Similarly, when the world was experiencing Coca Cola advertising campaigns like:  “Coke is it” or “Coke is life” – the Chinese creatives had an epiphany and came up with “Let your gums rejoice”.  Be that as it may, Coca Cola intends to invest $2 billion US in China over the next three years to get the gums of the nation’s 1.3 billion consumers rejoicing.  According to Coke’s annual report, volume consumption of the brown liquid rose by 19 percent in China last year while the North American market saw a decline of 1 percent. I’ve seen the vigorous chemical reaction between cola products and some peppermints, and its effect on dull coins and blocked drains – I wonder what it does with melamine?

Image from Wikipedia

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