Red Brick Daily

Have you noticed that fewer people seem to be chewing betel nuts these days?

According to gov’t stats cited in a recent report by Channel News Asia, the number of betel nut chewers is down 50% since 2007.

Taiwanese authorities have been pushing people to kick the habit as according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare … betel nuts = oral cancer.

Research shows that nine out of ten local oral cancer patients were betel nut chewers.

But, fewer people chewing them hasn’t had a huge dent in their value … with the report claiming the price of raw betel nuts soared by 25% over the last five years.

Did you know the total value of Taiwan’s betel nut output exceeded US$300 million last year … second only to rice?  –Surprising, no?

A section chief for Taiwan’s Agriculture and Food Agency says increases in output value are due to decrease in supply, which makes sense.

Betel nut plantations have shrunk by double-digits during the last five years, the gov’t says, as incentives are provided to local farmers if they switch from betel nuts to other crops and fruits.

Could betel nuts be on the way to extinction? –Maybe … but THIS IS KAOHSIUNG and we like our nuts.

A few decades from now a betel nut stall might be a thing of the past, but in our lifetimes … don’t bet on it   🙂


(Photo via CNN / LandLopers)