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Golden Decade Agricultural Vision Highlighting Agriculture's Multiple Values and Developing LOHAS Agriculture


The Council of Agriculture (COA) has further explained “LOHAS Agriculture,” which serves as the policy spindle of Robust Economy in the “Golden Decade, National Visions” being promoted by the government under the leadership of President Ma Ying-jeou. The agricultural policy goals in the next decade are as follows:

n Developing Agriculture into Robust LOHAS Agriculture

n Making Agriculture A Young, Highly Competitive Industry with Stable Income

n Building 4,000 New Villages to Show New Face of Ecological, Landscape, LOHAS, Cultural Farm Villages

The government will implement various agricultural policies and integrate primary, secondary and tertiary industries to promote Taiwan agricultural development towards green ecology and service industries, transforming agriculture into a young, professional, robust, highly competitive industry with stable farmers’ income.

Striving to Innovate Agriculture for 3 Years

For three years the government has upheld the principle of “health, efficiency, sustainable management” to promote such important policies as quality agriculture, The Farmers’ Academy, small landlords and big tenant-farmers, and rejuvenation of rural villages, map out agricultural policies in response to climate change, food security issues and medium- and long-term agricultural policies, and draft the Agriculture Basic Law, which are all far-reaching strategic planning in advance. The following are some examples:

Implementing Four Measures to Promote Health Agriculture and Take Care of Consumer Healthy Diet

At first the COA decided to stop using Safe Agricultural Products (Gi-Am-Pu) and CAS labels in 2007, but the Council resumed the use later on and has actively promoted the labels. The output value of CAS products reached NT$45.1 billion in 2010 and the registration of the labels in mainland China was completed in April 2011, which has helped develop the mainland market. As of the end of August 2011, the COA assisted and guided local farmers to produce safe Gi-Am-Pu vegetables and fruits on a total land area of 22,736 hectares, increasing three times as compared with 2007. The 4,401-hectare area of organic agriculture was double that in 2007, and the NT$4 billion value of traceability production grew nearly10 times as compared with 2007.

Turning Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Associations from Grocery Stores into Chain Stores after Resolving Potential Financial Crisis in Agriculture

Serious losses suffered in 2007 and 2008 reduced the National Agricultural Bank’s capital by half, NT$10.8 billion. But the bank turned profitable after successfully completing capital increase at the end of 2009, and its pre-tax profit reached NT$3.4 billion by the end of August 2011.

National Agricultural Bank representatives signed a general contract of collection and payment services with 301 farmers’ and fishermen’s associations in June 2010 to establish a complete system of upper- and lower-level agricultural financial services, turning the farmers’ and fishermen’s associations from grocery stores into chain stores. The amount of collections and payments totaled nearly NT$8 billion at the end of August 2011. The ratio of non-performing loans of the credit department of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations was 2.6% at the end of August this year, significantly lower than 5.9% at the end of May 2008.

Forming Joint Organization for Banana Exports to Stabilize Agricultural Production and Marketing and Promote Progressively the Japanese Market

The government liberalize the system of Taiwan Provincial Fruit Marketing Cooperative monopolizing the banana export in January 2005, resulting in vicious competition and dropping 3/4 banana exports to Japan in 6 years. To stabilize banana production and marketing from production, technical and marketing aspects, local businesses reached consensuses in July and August 2011, forming a joint banana export organization with 21 banana exporters joining the organization as of September 29.

Raising Domestic Produced Rice Purchasing Prices and Agreeing to Accept Wet Rice for First Time in 37 Years

The government has raised the domestic-produced rice purchasing price for the first-harvest season by NT$3 per kilogram to purchase 274,000 metric tons with a total cost of NT$6.76 billion, 2.2 times of 124,000 metric tons purchased in the same period of 2010, demonstrating that farmers were more willing to turn in public grain. Moreover, the government subsidizes NT$2 more per kilogram for such expenses as drying grains turned in by farmers starting the second harvest season in 2011, and guides rice storage units which have installed rice drying equipment to directly receive the wet grains from the farmers. The two new measures are expected to increase rice farmers’ income by NT$30,000-40,000 per hectare per year, really helping rice producing farmers.

Establishing Farmers’ Academy, in Combination with Farm Fieldwork, to Cultivate Agricultural Elite

The government established The Farmers’ Academy in 2011 to integrate training and teaching resources available from District Agricultural Research and Extension Stations, set up systematic agricultural education and training programs and courses, and cultivate new and professional farmers. The government has also integrated practical training, farm fieldwork and competence certification to ensure the professional standards of agricultural human resources and upgrade the efficiency of agriculture management. As of the end of August 2011, a total of 2,747 trainees completed 89 phases of agriculture camp and various trainings, with 82 contracted training farms providing 177 internship openings.

Agricultural Policy in Golden Decade Aims to Create Multiple Values for Future Agriculture and Dignified Farmers

The COA said traditionally agriculture is often seen as a weak industry appealing to sadness, and such a concept should be flipped! The government has specially emphasized agriculture’s multi-functional value because in addition to economic output, farmers engaging in agriculture management have also provided such non-economic functions as food security, ecological environment and natural landscape. All people should respect and support farmers because the values they created are shared by all people.

Therefore, the COA has particularly highlighted in the Agriculture Basic Law that agriculture plays multiple functions and people should show respect to farmers’ contribution to the whole society. Furthermore, agriculture is expected to play an important role in the future in the area of green economy, and the Council will integrate primary, secondary and tertiary industries to promote Taiwan agricultural development towards green ecology and service industries, making it a young, professional, robust, highly competitive industry with producers’ stable income.

Continuity, Innovation and LOHAS in Agricultural Policies

The COA explained that in addition to continuing promoting current agricultural policies, agricultural policy in the future Golden Decade has the following features:

n Building Food Security Mechanism

   Aiming at ensuring food security, in the future the government will guide the planning of agricultural policies to protect quality farmland and water resources, raise domestic food self-sufficiency rate, build multiple food security mechanism, promote domestic production and consumption, so as to increase the demand of the domestic agricultural products, increasing the farmers’ income..

n Promoting Farmers’ Income Stabilization Policy

The government plans to establish agricultural income support measures to maintain farmers’ income levels, and strengthen farmers’ concept of risk diversification and promote agricultural insurance.

n Promoting Innovative Development under Dual Pilot of Agricultural Technology Institute and Farmers Academy

The government plans to set up the Instituteof Agricultural Science and Technology in 2013 to strengthen the industrialization of technology, and promote the establishment of Elite Class in The Farmers’ Academy to upgrade the quality of agricultural producers.

n Strengthening Geo-strategic Advantages of Taiwan Economy

The government will promote multiple marketing channels for agricultural products, stabilize agricultural production and marketing, strengthen the global sale of agricultural products, grasp the benefits of direct cross-strait transport, under the recently signed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), and protect agricultural intellectual property rights and plant variety rights. (2011-09-29 )