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'Organic hotspots' — Success of the COA's six-sector economic program revitalizes rural economies


In collaboration with the Ecological Agriculture and Natural Foods Promotion Association of the Republic of China (EANFA), the Council of Agriculture (COA) has successfully nurtured 8 regions across the nation to become "organic hotspots." These 8 designated areas, which are located in the counties of Miaoli, Yilan and Taoyuan, participated in a federal program that aimed to revitalize regional economies through the promotion of local souvenirs and keepsakes, the establishment of leisure farms and plantation resorts as well as the creation of organic communities in line with six key features – namely the sophisticated use of technology, the efficient consumption of energy, the reduction of carbon emissions, the quick adoption of green energy, the provision of educational opportunities as well as the availability of leisure and sightseeing activities. The results of the two-year process were formally announced in a press conference on Sept. 26, in which COA Minister Chen Bao-ji lauded 14 Taiwanese enterprises for their support and endorsement of the organic hotspot transformation program; the event ended with performances by several rural representatives in gratitude for the business community's support.

Six-sector organic hotspots to kick-start rural economies

Citing the three-sector hypothesis, the COA explained that organic hotspots can be viewed as a six-sector economy, a fusion of raw-material extraction, manufacturing and services, for the presence of all three — primary, secondary and tertiary — sectors will allow organic communities to benefit from synergy and the transfer of knowledge. With the input from the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) and the county governments of Miaoli, Yilan and Taoyuan, the 8 regions selected to be part of the nation's "organic hotspot" pilot program were:

Miaoli County

Xinshengxing Community (Tongluo Township)

Longdong Community (Sihu Township)

Yilan County

Danan'ao Community (Nan'ao Township)

Daji Community (Wujie Township)

Xingjiang Community (Sansing Township)

Jhong Shan Agriculture Leisure Area (Dongshan Township)

Taoyuan County

Kaoyuan Community (Longtan Township)

Yihe Community (Daxi Township)

Under the joint supervision of the civic group EANFA and the COA, residents from the 8 designated communities spent two years establishing organic farms, designing regional logos, refining local specialties and constructing tourism packages. The adoption of the six-sector economic program has not only resulted in substantial returns, it has also contributed to the retention of younger generations in rural regions, thus breathing new life into many of these traditional farming societies.

Business endorsements and corporate social responsibility

COA Minister Chen Bao-ji pointed out that the organic hotspot transformation program would not have been possible without solid support from the nation's business community. 14 Taiwanese enterprises and organizations in particular, were recognized for their substantial contributions — Nin Jiom Medicine Manufactory, Lee Chang Yung Chemical Industry Corporation, Divine Way, Elmerlady Beauty International Group, Pomp Shine Enterprise, Booster Cable Enterprise, Amway Taiwan, Ruilian Notary Services Group, Marketech International, Judemeng International Trade, Jet One Technology, Lianan Wellness Center, Nan Tsan Industry and the Breastfeeding Association of Taiwan were all awarded with a certificate of appreciation at the Sept. 26 press conference. Praising them for their outstanding sense of corporate social responsibility, Chen said that he hopes more enterprises will demonstrate their love for Taiwan by actively supporting the domestic agricultural sector and endorsing organic communities.

Buy local, buy organic

Noting that it will introduce more regions to the organic hotspot transformation program in the future, the COA urged the public to purchase locally grown organic products. A little support for organic farming goes a long way towards securing a healthy and non-toxic future for Taiwan, the COA concluded.