At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Council of Agriculture on the promotion of the Green Environmental Payment Program. The premier said that the next phase of the program (2022-2025) will see an estimated investment of NT$40 billion (US$1.4 billion). The premier hopes that the program will soften the impact on the agricultural sector from our bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), turning challenges into opportunities to transform and upgrade Taiwan's agricultural industry and generate greater profits for farmers.
Through the agri-environmental basic payment policy of the Green Environmental Payment Program, rewards are automatically provided when farmland is used for farming purposes. Farmers can accumulate further rewards by converting rice fields to grow import-substitute or export-oriented crops such as soybeans, wheat or corn; adopting organic and eco-friendly farming techniques; or certifying their agricultural products for food traceability. This program not only stabilizes farmers' earnings, but also greatly assists the restructuring of the agricultural industry, improves public food safety and national food security, and ensures sustainable agricultural operations. In addition, the program is crucial to meeting sustainability goals such as agricultural water conservation and net zero carbon emissions.
The government has approved a rice income insurance scheme beginning with the first rice crop of this year to protect the rights of rice farmers. Over 210,000 rice farmers across Taiwan are covered under the basic insurance plan, and all premiums are fully subsidized by the central government. The scope of coverage has also been expanded from natural disasters to include crop diseases and pest damage risks, the premier said.
To soften any impacts on farmers and the agricultural industry that may result from Taiwan's bid to join the CPTPP, the government will accelerate efforts to restructure the rice farming industry and continue to encourage local production and local sales. Other measures include constructing a complete nationwide cold chain, developing international markets and expanding agricultural insurance schemes. It is hoped that Taiwan's agricultural products will become more competitive, assert a greater international presence and create more income for farmers, Premier Su said.