Expand ‘facility agriculture’ for agricultural development

  • Date: 2017-08-29
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lin Chuan emphasized the importance of agriculture to national development during a visit today to a local farm in Yunlin County’s Xiluo Township to observe the current state of rebuilding and disaster recovery from last year’s typhoons.

To close the urban-rural development gap, develop new industries, and realize the full potential of the local agriculture and economy, the government must improve the agricultural operating environment, as well as encourage young people to view agricultural as an industry with bright prospects for development, the premier said. Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) targeted annual incomes for professional young farmers of at least NT$1.2 million (US$39,745) and at least NT$1.8 million (US$59,603) after three years, in hopes of attracting even more young people into agriculture to take up farming as a profession and carry forward agricultural development.

The biggest challenge faced by farmers is climate. Because Taiwan has less arable acreage, developing facility agriculture (the use of greenhouses and other structures to facilitate intensive cultivation) is relatively more important, said the premier. Facility agriculture not only avoids pesticides and other agricultural pollution, and allows for the development of organic farming, but also has the potential to reduce damage from natural disasters. Thus, there is a need to promote facility agriculture as a means of leveling fluctuations in the prices of produce, stabilizing incomes for farmers, and realizing benefits for broader society.

The COA is currently pursuing a five-year development plan for facility agriculture that aims to assist in building reinforced greenhouses covering 400 hectares annually, reaching a target of 2,000 hectares over five years. The COA will also continue research into this area to ameliorate shortages in materials or labor and thereby energize related efforts. This will help Taiwan achieve the goal of constructing additional facilities to raise the value of agriculture and preserve the farming lifestyle. In addition to maintaining the sturdiness of agricultural infrastructure, the government will also simplify and accelerate the licensing process for new facilities. This is the government’s policy, and the government has a duty to put it into action, Premier Lin pledged.