The Council of Agriculture organized the “Role of ICTs in Agriculture/Rural Development and Governance” study visit for experts of African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) from November 16 to 20. The AARDO Secretary General led a group composed of more than 20 professionals from various fields including governmental officials, and representatives of AARDO member nations’ agricultural/rural development and research institutions. Not only did they witnessed Taiwan’s innovative achievements and value-added services created by applying ICT to all aspects of agriculture, but also the transformation of Taiwan’s agriculture in general.
COA stated that the event was organized under the request of the AARDO Secretariat. In recent years, Taiwan’s agriculture has successfully transformed itself through policy reform, technological upgrade, and other effective administerial measures. An important key to Taiwan’s success is the application of innovative ICT, which is a model example for the development of small-scale farming in Asia-Africa region. AARDO’s initiative in organizing the said event and the participation of its Secretary General in person demonstrated the recognition of Taiwan’s agricultural strength by international organizations.
Minister Chen pointed out in his address during the opening ceremony, that facing the challenges of trade liberalization, climate change, domestic small-scale farming, and limited resources among others, it is imperative for traditional agriculture to think from a new perspective and move from “production” to “innovative added-value” type of agricultural development. COA made the most of Taiwan’s ICT industry advantage and proceeded to promote innovation and cross-domain value-added services. It also utilized ICT to integrate civilian and inter-ministerial resources. Moreover, it has created an “on-line avatar” of the government to better serve farmers and provide counseling through internet audio-visual systems.
COA also explained that Taiwan enjoys a mature ICT development. Currently, ICT is widely applied to all aspects of agriculture including crop/fishery/livestock production management, disaster prevention monitoring, logistic/sales management, food safety, farmer academy, etc. There are related applicable technological R&D and promotional work for each of the aforementioned discipline. Minister Chen stated that in response to the fast-advancing global ICT trend, agriculture must intensify the application and promotion of ICT. Moreover, it must also establish an optimal IC environment so as to attract more young generation professionals to agricultural sector.
In order to offer the participants hands-on experiences on the development and application of agricultural ICT industry, the organizers arranged for the delegates to visit the Council of Agriculture, COA’s Agricultural Research Center, and Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, National Taiwan University, Q-Yo Mushroom Farm, Han Kuan Fruit & Vegetable Cooperatives, Kinpo Plant Factory, Taipei Flower Auction Company, etc. Not only did the event foster agricultural exchange between Taiwan and AARDO member nations, it had also shown the vitality and potential of Taiwan’s agriculture to the world.