The COA pursues mutually beneficial international cooperation in agriculture. In recent years, we have constructed a cross-disciplinary cooperation mechanism with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with the focal points of this cooperation being (a) selective breeding of rice strains that are more resistant to adverse environmental changes and (b) training of skilled professionals. We have also continued cooperation with the Netherlands on improving energy-efficient or energy- saving technologies for agro-products grown in in greenhouses with environmental controls, as well as on further R&D to upgrade the production chain for lettuce.
On December 20, 2012 the COA hosted the 4th “Taiwan-Okinawa Technology Research Exchange Conference.” Okinawa agreed to help Taiwan resolve its problem of having to prolong its application to Japan for variety rights for tropical fruit due to the lack of a local testing and experimental plantation by providing Taiwan with a state-owned nursery in Okinawa. In addition, Okinawa agreed to initiate exchanges of technology, information, and personnel with Taiwan related to large scale kelp cultivation.
The COA has also been working to open doors for exports of breeding livestock from Taiwan. We have sought agreement from Vietnam to import breeding hogs from Taiwan on a special case basis. Traders from Vietnam came to Taiwan in early December of 2012 and completed discussions with selected breeders, and the first shipment of breeding hogs was exported to Vietnam in January of 2013.
Global marketing strategies
International marketing of agro-products
The COA has been very active in promoting the sale of Taiwan agro-products in the international market. We continued to do so in 2012, including: (a) coordinating 27 overseas product exhibitions by Taiwan agro-industrial associations or farmers’ groups, and holding 71 overseas promotional and marketing activities; (b) commissioning private-sector firms to establish three long-term overseas marketing and sales bases to actively penetrate overseas markets; (c) implementing a special program for training of personnel in the field of international marketing of agro-products, with one overseas study group plus a total of 110 hours of coursework with a total of 900 attendees; (d) lending guidance and advice, on a case by case basis, to assist 10 private-sector agro- product exporters to upgrade packaging and establish brand names, which will not only help those specific products penetrate the international market, but will help improve the overall image of Taiwan agro-products as being of superior quality and safety.
In 2012 the value of exports of agro-products from Taiwan was US$5.08 billion, an increase of 8.83% over 2011. There were ten products for which the increase in total export value exceeded US$1 million. The top five products in terms of increases in the value of exports in 2012 were: grouper (up 36%), Phalaenopsis orchids (15.9%), weever fish (29.2%), edamame (13.4%), and Oncidium orchids (25.3%).
Strengthening management of the export supply chain
■ As part of efforts by the COA to open up the mainland market to Taiwan agro-products, on June 16, 2012, mainland China opened their market to Taiwan rice for the first time. The COA followed up this success by issuing, on July 18, the “Regulations Governing Exports of Rice from Taiwan to the Mainland Area.” In 2012 a total of 773 metric tons of white rice were
exported to mainland China.
■ The COA has coordinated the establishment of 4,800 hectares of special zones for crops intended for export, including ones for carrots, edamame, and head lettuce. Exports from these zones for 2012 were as follows: for carrots, 8976 metric tons worth US$3.127 million; for edamame, 34,000 metric tons worth US$7.161 million; and for head lettuce, 7725 metric tons worth US$7.176 million. We have also coordinated the establishment of 22 special zones for floricultural production, in seven counties and cities, to produce cut Oncidium orchids and other flowers, with 537 hectares of land specially contracted for production for export. In 2012 these special zones exported 37 million stems worth NT$680 million. Finally, we have also assisted 10 warehousing and shipping locations to upgrade their post-harvest handling capabilities and storage environments.
■ Aiming to increase the value of banana exports and to maintain orderly exporting of bananas, the COA coordinated the founding of the Taiwan Banana Exporters Association, which was founded on November 8, 2011, with 23 exporting firms as members. The COA has coordinated the creation of 21 special zones, covering 465 hectares, to produce bananas for export.
International farm and fisheries consultations and cooperation
In 2012 The COA once again was very active in terms of bilateral agricultural cooperation meetings and bilateral economic and trade consultations. We promoted exports of Taiwanese agro-products, protection of plant variety rights, and provision of fisheries consultation services. We encouraged Vietnam to agree to import breeding hogs from Taiwan on a special case basis. In November of 2012 Australia announced a Draft Policy Review with respect to imports of lychee and cut lilies from Taiwan to Australia, and we anticipate that in the near future, after consultations have been completed, we will see further exports of the relevant products.
The COA also continued to enthusiastically participate in the activities of various international organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), and the Asian Productivity Organization. Major activities in 2012 included: (1) In May, COA Minister Chen Bao- ji led a delegation to Russia to participate in the 2nd APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, where he called for a multi-year project of stronger public-private partnerships to reduce losses in the food supply chain. (2) Here in Taiwan we hosted several conferences on critical issues, including an APEC working group meeting on creation of an emergency food storage mechanism, an APEC conference to devise strategies for coping with the impact of extreme weather on the fishing and aquaculture industries, an international conference on bananas (discussing improvements of varieties, health management, diversified applications, and adjustments to climate change), and the 8th Steering Committee meeting of BAPNET (the Banana Asia-Pacific Network). (3) At the end of the year, the COA arranged for the secretary-general of AARDO to visit Taiwan to study rural development. During the visit, long-term directions for cooperation between Taiwan and AARDO were discussed.
On September 23, 2012, Taiwan formally became a member of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), where we work with other SPRFMO members to conserve and manage non-tuna resources in the South Pacific. The COA also: (a) attended five meetings related to the work of the OECD Committee for Fisheries and the FAO Committee for Fisheries; (b) participated in 45 meetings of various regional fisheries management organizations, including the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. We are continually working through these groups to uphold the rights and interests of Taiwan’s fishing industry.