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National Seminar on Agriculture and Farmland Reaches Consensus to Create Highly Competitive Quality Agriculture and Conserve Farmland Resources with Both Quality and Quantity


The Council of Agriculture (COA) convened the National Seminar on Agriculture and Farmland on January 12 to hold interdisciplinary discussions on medium- and long-term agricultural development directions and farmland policies. When addressing the opening ceremony, Premier Wu Den-yih emphasized that when confronted with the impact of climate changes and economic and trade liberalization, the government must set forward-looking medium- and long-term agricultural development directions from the macro perspective of sustainable agricultural development to ensure the quality and quantity of food security production while assisting other countries with high tech agriculture to fulfill the responsibility of a member of the Earth; and that farmland use shall take national and agricultural development requirements into consideration, plus reasonable maintenance and management, to ensure the healthy development of agriculture.



COA Minister Wu-hsiung Chen noted in the opening ceremony that it was particularly meaningful to convene the seminar at the beginning of the country’s centennial. After six months of preparations the Council had invited agriculture, government and academic experts to discuss medium- and long-term agricultural policy and farmland utilization and management policy directions in more than 30 meetings. The solicited opinions were presented to the National Seminar on Agriculture and Farmland for discussions in order to seek consensus and reform momentum.

The seminar set “creating highly competitive quality agriculture” as the vision of Taiwan agriculture in the next decade with the strategy direction of “new markets, new farmers, new rural villages,” and clearly declared to raise food self-sufficient rate, maintain potential food supply capability, pragmatically plan direct payments in line with international norms, adjust industrial and manpower structures and promote integrated utilization of resources so as to enhance industrial competitiveness and respond to the international trend of economic and trade liberalization at an early date. The seminar also expected agriculture to further play its multiple functions and the people can reach a consensus on the value of agriculture’s multiple contributions, making Taiwan agriculture a localized life industry and an outstanding globalized industry.


Farmland policy was another issue of concern in the seminar. After enthusiastic discussions, experts reached a consensus on the high-strength maintenance of quality farmland, believing particularly that both quality and quantity of good farmland should be further strengthened and policy resources should be concentrated and used on good farmland first because the current practice of controlling only rezoned farmland inside special agricultural areas is inadequate. The participants also agreed that eco-friendly direct payments should be actively planned and promoted, incentive mechanism be provided to keep agriculture for agricultural uses while strengthening farmland management measures and promoting sustainable utilization of farmland resources in order to respond to the impact of more substantial liberalization in the future.




When addressing the closing ceremony, Minister Chen said the participants had reached a preliminary consensus on Taiwan agriculture’s development direction in the next decade and the COA will continue planning the government’s medium- and long-term agricultural policy platforms based on various suggestions made in the seminar and formulating draft agriculture basic law for Executive Yuan approval before sending it to the Legislative Yuan for deliberations. The basic law will be an important basis for medium- and long-term agricultural policies. While echoing a suggestion made by participants in the seminar, Minister Chen announced that the COA will conduct a nationwide farmland survey this year to keep inventory of farmland stock and quality and plan accordingly the maintenance of good farmland and efficient allocation of financial resources.



The seminar was not the end but an important beginning of formulating medium- and long-term agricultural policies, stressed Minister Chen, urging the participants to jointly work for the creation of highly competitive quality agriculture based on the achievements made by experts and diligently working farmers, and establish a consensus among the people on the value of contributions made by agriculture’s multiple functions to lay a long-lasting solid foundation for sustainable agricultural development and sustainable utilization of farmland resources. The COA will plan the vision and strategy direction for Taiwan agriculture in the next decade to be the basis of formulating the agriculture basic law, provide the important principles for agricultural policy promotion and enactment of laws and regulations, arouse public attention to agriculture and ensure the stable implementation of agricultural policies to promote sustainable agricultural development.



Create Highly Competitive Quality Agriculture, Conserve Good Farmland and Promote Sustainable Utilization of Farmland Resources with Strategy Direction of ”New Markets, New Farmers, New Rural Villages”



With the vision of creating highly competitive quality agriculture and strategy direction of “new markets, new farmers, new rural villages,” the COA will adhere to agricultural policy guidelines of “health, efficiency, sustainable management” when planning to promote various agricultural policies. Meanwhile, the Council will expand the scope of conserving good farmland, formulate good farmland conservation program, conduct nationwide survey of farmland resource utilization, establish farmland classification and management system, concentrate financial resources to use on good farmland first, and strengthen farmland management mechanism to promote sustainable utilization of farmland resources.



The seminar reached the following important consensus when it concluded:

1)       Attach importance to multiple functions of agriculture and farmland and bring them into play: Both agriculture and farmland have multiple functions. Since agriculture belongs to all people, it should further play its multiple functions and establish a consensus among the people on the value of contributions made by agriculture’s multiple functions.

2)       Raise food self-sufficiency rate to ensure potential food supply capability: Food self-sufficiency rate is an important agricultural policy indicator and it should be raised to ensure stable food supply capability; manage crisis well according to risk degrees and establish food security system; and strengthen dietary education, promote “local production, local consumption” and shorten food miles.

3)       Pragmatically plan direct payments in line with international norms to guide the adjustment of industrial structure: “Income supports payment” or “agricultural environment payment” should be planned and promoted to maintain the productivity and competitiveness of industries using land. Review current subsidy and payment systems (such as subsidies for fallow), calculate the effects of different payment arrangements and reach a consensus on implementing changes.

4)       Attach importance to consumer and market demands and provide stable, safe agricultural products: A safe and seamless management system should be established for agricultural products from production to consumption so as to segment the market and safeguard consumer rights and interests. Agricultural development should be transformed from production-oriented to market-oriented.

5)       Promote global deployment of agricultural products and establish farm produce international marketing models: The government should establish quality international brand image for Taiwan agricultural products and promote emerging markets for key industries through protecting agricultural intellectual property rights and cooperating with large distributors.

6)       Promote the regeneration of rural villages with landscape and culture: There should be an overall plan to promote rural village development and establish rural highlights in combination with core industry, local culture, environmental protection and green leisure travels.

7)       Expand the scope of conserving good farmland and use policy resources on good farmland first: Industries using farmland are agriculture’s important foundation and roots for landscape and industrial culture, so good farmland should be given high-intensity protection and policy resources should be used on good farmland first. For medium- and long-term development, farmland classification and management system and bottom-up system of good agricultural parks should be established.

8)       Strengthen farmland management mechanism and maintain quality business environment for agricultural operations: Overall planning should be the principle for farmland changes and the government should carry out the policy of farmland being used for agriculture, strictly review regulations on building farmhouses and put an end to commercial and leisure villa-styled farmhouses.

9)       Enhance the overall quality of agricultural manpower and cultivate high-quality new farmers: Establish farmers training institute and institutionalized agricultural professional training system to strengthen working farmers’ professional knowledge and skills and farmers organizations’ innovative capability.

10)    Establish institute of agricultural science and technology and agricultural policy research institute: Promote the industrialization of technical research and development results and enhance the capacity of agricultural policies in support of decision-making.

11)    Strengthen agricultural statistics and information survey, establish databanks and conduct nationwide survey of farmland resources: Strengthen the collection of basic information related to agricultural industries, farmers and food consumption and conduct nationwide survey on farmland resources as an important basis for policy formulation and implementation.

12)    Reach an inter-ministerial and central-local government consensus on jointly promoting agriculture and farmland policies and establish a platform for governance and good division of labor.

Solidify Foundation for Formulating Agriculture Basic Law for Legislative Yuan Deliberations in Next Session




As regional economic integration has become an international trend in recent years, Taiwan agriculture faces the pressure of accelerating economic and trade liberalization, which poses a serious challenge to Taiwan ’s agricultural development. The government should take advantage of Taiwan agriculture’s international competitiveness and formulate forward-looking medium- and long-term overall agricultural policy directions. Various suggestions made in this seminar, plus important policies formulated in the past, and agriculture basic law drafts presented by many legislators will all enrich the foundation for formulating the basic law. The Executive Yuan is scheduled to send the draft agriculture basic law to the Legislative Yuan for deliberations in its next session, making it the fundamental law in promoting agriculture transformation and upgrading and enhancing its competitiveness in order to ensure the sustainable development of Taiwan agriculture. ( 2011-01-12)