To reverse the decline of the agricultural workers population and the aging of the farming work force while protecting farmer welfare and interests, the government has in recent years actively promoted four major welfare measures, namely: farmer health insurance, farmer occupational hazards insurance, agricultural insurance and a farmer pension savings system. The measures will create a comprehensive socioeconomic safety net for agricultural workers, protect farmers' health, help farmers diversify business risks to better protect operations, and take care of agricultural workers in their retirement years. The objectives are to allow farmers to more fully concentrate on the work at hand as well as attract more young people to the agricultural profession to inject fresh blood into Taiwan's agricultural sector.
Four major welfare measures
■ Farmer health insurance: The scope of insureds has been expanded to cover every person actually engaged in farming work, including agricultural production workers who use other people's farmland by oral agreement, beekeepers not of a fixed farming type, and farmers who use public lands adjoining rivers to engage in agricultural work. In addition, to improve the welfare of farmers, the government approved amendments to the Farmer Health Insurance Act to raise the monthly insured amounts for farmer health insurance and farmer occupational hazards insurance, and accordingly double a range of benefits and allowances including maternity benefits, funeral allowances and injury and sickness payments.
■ Trial run of farmer occupational hazards insurance (two phases): The first phase, beginning November 2018 and focusing on occupational injuries, expanded the scope of insureds and increased payout benefits for injuries sustained. The second phase, beginning September 2021, brought occupational diseases under the scope of farmer occupational hazards insurance to make agricultural occupational safety protection even more comprehensive. In addition, farmers who newly register under the farmer health insurance program will also be required to enroll in the farmer occupational hazards insurance program.
■ Expand agricultural insurance: To help farmers diversify business risks, better protect operations and ensure steady incomes, the government in 2017 expanded a trial agricultural insurance program that offered insurance products and policies of many kinds. In 2021 the program was expanded to cover natural disasters, crop diseases and market risks, freeing farmers from dependence on the vagaries of nature.
■ Establish a farmer pension savings system: In 2021 the government established individual farmer retirement savings accounts, allowing the farmer and the government to jointly contribute to the account on a monthly basis. At 65 years of age, the farmer may, based on the principal and interest accumulated in his or her account, collect retirement payouts on a monthly basis. The retired agricultural worker will have retirement benefits just as in other professions and enjoy the guarantee of an appropriate standard of living.