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General Information
  The Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of administration of agricultural, forestry, fisheries, and animal husbandry matters in Taiwan. Under the Ministry there are the Department of Planning, Department of Resources Sustainability, Department of Farmers’ Guidance, Department of Animal Industry, Department of Animal Welfare, Department of Agricultural Science and Technology, Department of International Affairs, Department of Information Technology, Secretariat, Department of Personnel, Department of Government Ethics, Department of Accounting, Department of Statistics, and Department of Legal Affairs. Each department is divided into sections to meet operational needs.

  Historically an agriculture-based country, the Republic of China has centered its policies on agriculture. Since the beginning of the republic, the agricultural administration authority has gone through several changes, but the goal of establishing a sound system has remained unaltered.

  When the Nanjing Provisional Government was formed in 1912, the Ministry of Basic Industries was created to be in charge of agriculture, forestry, industry and commerce. It was the nation's first modern agricultural authority. In the following year, the Beijing Government was established and the ministry was divided into two authorities, one to oversee agriculture and forestry, and one to manage industry and commerce.

  In 1914, the two authorities were remerged to become the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce to run agriculture, forestry, fisheries, animal husbandry, industry, commerce and mining.

  In 1925 the Nationalist Government was created in Guangzhou and the Ministry of Basic Industries was installed but a separate Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery (to administer agriculture, forestry and fisheries) was set up at the end of the Northern Expedition when the country was reunified and this ministry was placed under the Executive Yuan.

  In 1930, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce were combined to become the Ministry of Basic Industries. As a response to wartime needs when the Sino-Japanese War broke out, the government changed the name of the ministry to the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1938, with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry under it. Two years later the department was expanded to be the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

  In April 1941, the Nationalist Government installed the Food Administration to control food resources and distribution between civilians and the armed forces. After the promulgation of the constitution, the country remained war-torn and the government changed the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the Agriculture and Forestry Administration in an effort to downsize government organization. When the Nationalist Government retreated to Taiwan, the Department of Agriculture was created under the Ministry of Economic Affairs to be responsible for agricultural affairs and was later renamed the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to increase its functions.

  In November 1981, both the structure and functions were further expanded in conformity with economic development and the office was upgraded to be the Agricultural Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

  When the Sino-Japanese War ended, the government created the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction on October 1, 1948 in Nanjing according to an economic agreement signed with the US to rebuild rural areas and revive agriculture. The commission came with the Nationalist Government to Taiwan in 1949. Its experts of both Chinese and foreign nationalities and abundant financial resources made significant contributions in the early and middle stages of Taiwan's rural development.

  On September 15, 1978, the US informed the Taiwan government that the agreement was coming to an end and no more Americans would be sent to be members of the Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction. Six months later, the Sino-American Economic Cooperation Agreement was automatically nullified as part of the agreement and the commission was dismissed on March 15, 1979. However, as the government intended to use the Chinese members of the commission to continue agricultural development, the very next day the commission was reorganized and became the Council for Agricultural Planning and Development (CAPD) under the Executive Yuan as the office for agricultural consultation, development and coordination.

  On July 20, 1984, the government decided to combine CAPD and the Agricultural Bureau of MOEA to become the Council of Agriculture (COA) to centralize agricultural authority in line with national economic development. On September 20 the same year, this central agricultural administrative office was created, with due authority, and with a sound structure and sufficient funding. The complete agricultural administrative system was thereby established.

  Aiming to sustain management of fisheries resources, the government upgraded the Fishery Department of the COA to become the Fishery Administration on August 1, 1998. Meanwhile, to strengthen animal and plant quarantine,part of the staff from COA's Department of Agriculture and Food and Department of Animal Husbandry and from MOEA's Bureau of Commodity Inspection and Quarantine were reassigned to form the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. Henceforth the nation's fisheries policy, fishing rights protection, fisheries resources development and animal and plant inspection and quarantine have become more and more complete.

  On July 1, 1999, the structure and functions of the Taiwan Provincial Government were readjusted. According to a provisional statute, Taiwan Province was a non-autonomous entity and the provincial government was an outpost of the Executive Yuan. The original Agriculture and Forestry Division and the Food Division of the Taiwan Provincial Government were annexed to become COA's Central Taiwan Office and Second Office and their original subordinate organizational units became COA's subordinate organizational units. The aim was to unify central and local agricultural authorities and upgrade administrative efficiency.

  To minimize the impact on domestic agriculture from Taiwan's joining the WTO, on October 12, 2003, the government created the Planning Office for Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park under the COA in hopes of accelerating development of hi-tech agriculture and enhancing international marketing through the industry cluster effect of the specialized park. The aim was to amend problems from insufficient efforts and channeling by individual farmers in the past and substantially upgrade the competitiveness of Taiwan's agriculture across the globe.

  On January 30, 2004, in response to the reorganization of offices under various councils and ministries at the end of the initial phase of the Taiwan Provincial Government's functional and structural readjustment, COA's Agriculture and Food Division and Central Taiwan Office and Second Office were combined into the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA). The four original North, Central, South and East Food Administration Divisions were made AFA's branch offices to be responsible for the agricultural development of different regions.

  In addition, in line with the passing of the Agricultural Financing Act, the Bureau of Agricultural Finance was established under the COA.

  On June 11, 2010, in coordination with streamlining the provincial government, passing of legislation to reassign organizational units to new parent bodies, putting organizational functions on a sound footing, and strengthening integration of services, the original three sub-stations (at Wenshan, Yuchi, and Taitung) under the Tea Research and Extension Station of the COA were reorganized as detached units.

  On July 1, 2018, the Forestry Bureau of the COA established the Alishan Forest Railway and Cultural Heritage Office. Its purposes are to implement the sustainable development of the Alishan Forest Railway and surrounding cultural heritage, to bring together forestry culture and nature conservation, and to develop a superior eco-travel experience. 

  On October 1, 2020 the Council of Agriculture founded the Irrigation Agency to handle agricultural water conservancy matters. At that time the COA had 24 agencies directly subordinate to it, and those subordinate agencies had 35 further agencies below them, so that the COA had a total of 59 affiliated agencies.

In response to the expectations of the agricultural sector, climate change, the worsening of regional conflicts, and the need for pro-active transformation of agriculture, the COA acted in coordination with the restructuring of the Executive Yuan and transformed into the Ministry of Agriculture on August 1, 2023. There are 24 agencies (organizations) directly subordinate to the Ministry, and 31 further agencies (organizations) below them, for a total of 55 affiliated agencies (organizations). The goal of the Ministry of Agriculture is to deal with internal and external environmental challenges and sustainably develop agriculture in Taiwan.

An Overview of Agricultural Development in Taiwan

  1. Agricultural resources
      In 2015, Taiwan had 797,000 hectares under cultivation, accounting for 22.1% of its total land area. Most of Taiwan's farms are small-scale and operated by families. The average size of farms is about 1.1 hectares. In 2016, 557,000 people were employed in agriculture, accounting for 5% of the total employed population in Taiwan. The average age of farmers is 62.
  2. The agricultural economy
      In 2015, Taiwan's food self-sufficiency rate was 31.4% (as measured by calories) and the average income per farm household was NT$1.02 million, of which 23% was from agriculture. Agricultural GDP accounted for about 1.8% of national GDP. If the processed agriproducts and the food and beverage industry were calculated in, the share of agricultural GDP was 7.3%.
  3. The value of agricultural production
      The total value of Taiwan's agricultural production in 2015 was NT$500.9 billion, of which farm crops accounted for 48.8%, forestry for less than 0.1%, livestock for 32.7%, and fishery products for 18.4%.

      The production value in 2015 for farm crops, forestry, fisheries and livestock is listed as follows:

    (1)The value of production of farm crops was NT$244.4 billion, accounting for 48.8% of the total value of agricultural production. The main product was fruit with a share of 37.4%, followed by vegetables (26.3%), rice (15.3%), flowers (6.8%), special-use crops (5.2%), dry crops (4.4%), and other crops (4.6%).

    (2)The value of livestock production was NT$164 billion, accounting for 32.7% of the total value of agricultural production. In terms of the structure of the production value of different types of livestock, hogs were the most important products and accounted for 43.8%, followed by poultry (31.2%), eggs (14.7%), and other types of livestock and their byproducts (10.3%).

    (3)The value of fisheries production was NT$92.3 billion, accounting for 18.4% of the total value of agricultural production. The production of distant water fisheries accounted for 42.5%, followed by the inland aquaculture industry (35.9%), offshore fisheries (10.9%), ocean aquaculture (6.8%), and coastal fisheries (3.9%), while the proportion from inland fish catching was negligible.

    (4)The total value of forestry production was NT$240 million, accounting for less than 0.1% of the total value of agricultural production.
  4. Rice is the most important staple food in Taiwan. In recent years, about 251,000 hectares of land has been planted with rice, producing about 1.58 million metric tons of rice. The total production value of rice in 2015 exceeded NT$37.4 billion.