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Implementation of Agricultural Policies
The Council of Agriculture will continue on the foundation that has been laid down to develop quality agriculture, safe agriculture, leisure agriculture and ecological agriculture, improve agricultural production, life and ecology, and fulfill the duty of improving species, reassuring quality and marketing brand names to develop farming and fishing communities, revive farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and look after farmers and fishermen.
I. Improvement of agricultural technology R&D
A. Acceleration of industrialization of agricultural technology
Ascertain the attribution and application of COA’s technological development results and initiate prompt use of these results in industries by way of academic and industry cooperation and technology transfer measures. On 2004, fifty-one technology transfer cases brought in total authorization fees of NT$9.53 million, 1.9 times of 2003. There were also 24 new breeds of rice, potato lichee and gladiolus, and other species, with 28 patents granted – 1.8 times of 2003, and 143 academic-and-industry cooperation projects. In biotechnology R&D, automated systems for seedling cultivation and production, computerized barcode control and disease testing have been set up and the technologies have transferred and applied in related industries. The technologies for reproduction of rhizobia, phosphate-solubilizing bacteria and vesticular arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi have been transferred to related industries and applied on over thirty thousand hectares of land area. Cell lines of Taiwan yew with high taxol content and 5-liter cell culture systems have been successfully produced and applied in commercial production. Up to the end of 2004, the newly constructed agricultural biotechnology Web site already contained 2,150 entries of data and had received 18,120 hits.
B. Establishment of Agricultural Biotechnology Parks
As of December 2004, the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park had ratified and accepted 22 businesses, 15 of which had paid the deposit, and all construction projects and further business recruitment are in progress. The operation service center and the first stage of foundation construction of the Taiwan Orchid Biotechnology Park in Tainan County are completed; 12 businesses have been approved to move in and rent plots to build their own greenhouses. 6 of them have begun construction. In Changhua County, the “Implementation Plan for Designated Flower Production Zones” for the National Flower Park has been drawn and the county government has evaluated and installed 7 satellite demonstration centers. Presently the planning for the core service zone and the “Landscaping Plantlet Production Zone” is underway. On December 23 2004, the Executive Yuan approved in principle of the initial plan and evaluation for feasibility of private investment in public construction for Jiayi County’s “Culinary and Medicinal Herb Biotechnology Park” and the county government has completed the bidding for general consultancy. The “Ocean Biotechnology Park” of Yilan is currently in the integrated planning stage.
C. Preparation for the Establishment of the Administrative Corporation – the “National Agricultural Research Institute”
The joint committee of the Judiciary Committee and the Economics and Energy Committee of the Legislative Yuan was completed on December 30, 2004 the review of the draft for the “Statute for the Establishment of the National Agricultural Research Institute” aimed at consolidating the nine research units under COA into a administrative corporation. COA created the preparation and promotion task force to conduct preliminary work for the restructuring, and has drawn up twenty legal regulations and preparatory work for the first stage.
D. Promotion of Digitalized Agricultural Management
Up till 2004, in the areas of promotion of agricultural knowledge management and application, establishment of various agricultural production technologies, farmland management, GAP (Good Agricultural Product) certification and other production and marketing informative databases, and development of basic application of agricultural core knowledge, 45 industrial informative databases for agriculture and food, fruit and vegetables and flowers had been created and 10,000 documents on industrial knowledge collected.
Using the completed local area network connecting the 344 farmers’ and fishermen’s associations to upgrade the management efficiency of local farmer groups, electronic document exchanges among farmers’ and fishermen’s associations reached 60% in 2004 and effectively sped up transmission of agricultural policies and information. The “Agricultural Asset Trade Information Matching Service Network” was developed to provide sellers and buyers or owners and lessees with complete information. By December 2004, the Web site had accumulated 725 information entries on farmland, farmhouses and other agricultural materials for sale or for rent for public access.
The “Recreational Agriculture Information Network” now contains over 15,000 data entries on tourism. In 2004, the Recreational Agriculture Information Center for Taipei County and Yilan County was created and the Recreational Agriculture Netphone Guide System was installed in Taipei, Jiaosi, Yilan and Luodong Train Stations. So far 100 leisure farms and private guesthouses have joined the joint operation system.
II. Establishment of Safety Systems for Regional Agricultural Development
A. Assistance for agricultural production and marketing groups
According to authorization by Article 26, paragraph 2 of the “Statute for Agricultural Development”, the COA announced the “Regulations on Establishment of and Assistance for Agricultural Production and Marketing Groups”. By the end of the year, 7,025 production and marketing groups had been established with over thirteen hundred thousand farmers included. 794 of these groups has been guided to gradually set up corporatized production and marketing management. In the mean time, NT$5 billion has been appropriated from the Agricultural Development Fund to provide loans to agricultural production and marketing groups at 2% annual interest and 1,500 applications have been approved.
B. Creation of Fine Production and Marketing Environment
Assist farmer groups to consolidate resources and technologies, analyze competitive advantages, plan industrial value chain framework, develop regional core competitive businesses, and introduce corporative management concept and skills to upgrade agricultural management efficiency according to the features of the product, target clientele, geographical factors and marketing channels. Programs conducted in 2004 include integrated marketing, grading and selection of agricultural specialties, expansion of featured industries and direct marketing, development of the honey industry, installation of processing centers for wholesale vegetables and export channel for organic rice, etc.
C. Creation of Market-oriented Industrial Value Chain
Establishing the agricultural value chain means, with creating agricultural competitive edges in mind, aiming at fulfilling the demands of consumers and planning, executing and managing the production and marketing process from the producer of agricultural products or services to the consumer. In 2004, COA successfully helped set up the “Strategic Alliance of Root Vegetable Businesses of Yunlin, Jiayi and Tainan Region”, using the Farmers’ Association of Dounan Township as the base, across seven root vegetable production zones and applied the value chain concept and methodology to not only turn individual farmers’ disadvantages in scale economy, but also opened up international markets and effectively provided guidance for the industry’s development.
D. Promotion of Safe Agricultural Production and Marketing Systems
In order to achieve the four goals of this council, namely Quality, safety, leisure and ecology, as well as respond to safety consumption measures practiced in Europe, Japan and the US, the council has, since 2004, demonstrated the promotion of “from farm to table” traceable production and marketing credential record system for eight items already being or ready to be exported to Japan – pineapple, bird’s nest fern, mango, iceberg lettuce, bull tomato, pod peas, honey dew and Yichuan Aromatic Rice – and another eight items having passed organic agricultural product certification – cabbage, kongxincai (a green, leafy vegetable), carrots, corn, tomatos, strawberries, tea leaves and Yinchuan rice, planned the establishment of an information system for safe agriculture control, and promoted the information system for traceable agricultural product credential control to distinctively differentiate the place of production of agricultural product, reduce risks of consumers, upgrade credibility of agricultural production and marketing, ensure food safety and expand export markets.
III. Promotion of Transformation of Agricultural and Food Businesses
A. Promotion of Follow-up Plans for Adjustment of Wet and Dry Rice Field Use
Along with the promotion of follow-up plans for adjustment of wet and dry rice field use, the base period was stretched to 1994 to 2003 and the subsidy for fallowing and planting green fertilizers was NT$45,000 per hectare. In 2004, total rice farming area was adjusted to 237 thousand hectares to reach the demand-supply balance target. Additional, COA also conducted national rice competitions and champion rice sale contests to extend the rice consuming market, and at the same time encourage exportation. In 2004, Taiwanese rice was exported to Japan and the export amounted to 126 tons as of early 2005. In 2005, 28 designated rice production and marketing zones covering 5,400 hectares will be created to upgrade both the quality and competitive ness of Taiwan rice.
To promote food storage against natural disasters and social aid welfare measures in the country, in 2004, COA released for free 1,301 tons of rice for emergency relief to implement the policy of coordinated central and local government care for social minorities. Aside from domestic food aid, COA also shipped out 56,312 tons of rice as humanitarian aid to countries with food shortages in the same year.
B. Development High-grade Agricultural Food Industries with Domestic Characteristics
14 coarse cereal products have been developed. With the assistance of COA, Farmers have used health high-grade seedlings and grown breeds that are indigenous and highly competitive. At the same time, 40 hectares of land has been used for the development and application of health care plant products. 1,018 hectares has been engaged in the cooperative system between tea merchants and tea farmers. Safety and hygiene of tea-making facilities have been improved and the First National High-grade Tea Competition and Sale Contest was conducted.
3,685 hectares of fruit groves now produce high quality mangos, pineapples, bananas, lichees, papayas, tangerines, grapes and high-altitude grafted pears. Industrial technical service teams have been organized and made field trips to offer technical assistance as well as developed 14 new competitive renewed species and planted them over 1,078 hectares.
In 2004, COA assisted 9 farmers’ associations and 4 agricultural cooperatives to set up basic processing satellite plants and help develop fine products such as precut vegetables and green salads. The amount of fruit and vegetables processed during the year reached 25,000 tons.
The council activated the buy-up mechanism in 2004 and processed 15,000 tons of green plums; at the same time promotion sales were conducted and helped sell 1,000 tons. Farm wineries were developed; 9 village wineries in the September 21 Reconstruction Zone are in operation. 4 farmer groups passed COA’s appellation and quality certification in 2004.
C. Upgrade of Agricultural Production and Marketing Efficiency
The council has promoted farmer groups to organize cooperative marketing of vegetables, fruit and flowers and improve control of supply sources to upgrade farmers’ pricing capacity. In 2004, their fruit and vegetables respectively had a 59% and a 61% market share in Taipei. Flowers enjoyed a much higher increase 81% all around the island. Meanwhile, farmer groups have also been given grants to improve facilities for pre-cooling, refrigeration, cleaning and packaging and build a refrigeration truck fleet to maintain product freshness. Farmer groups remain in close contact with supermarkets and large-volume retailers to keep communication channels open. Supermarkets run by farmers’ associations have fulfilled the function as regional operation centers and their distribution systems have been completed and consolidated. In addition, the joint purchasing and operation system is also in place. Databases for flower wholesale market and warehousing data systems have been built to promote industrial information exchange and technical improvement.
D. Promotion of Mechanization and Automation of Agricultural Production and Marketing
To alleviate the burdens of farmers and expedite the spread of new agricultural machinery, the council has subsidized the purchase1, 155 new machines for farmers and conducted automation for grain drying process at 81 places and for seedling production on 34 farms. Presently mechanization of rice farming has reached 98% and mechanization in landscaping, sowing, disease prevention and harvesting of cereal crops is over 95%. Automation of vegetable sowing and seedling cultivation stands at 85% and mechanization of post-harvest grading and selection process has also been raised to 80%. Agricultural mechanization and automation are still being extended to upgrade agriculture.
IV. Creation of a Quality Environment for Fishery Management
A. Promotion of Deep-sea Fishery
Based on reciprocity principle, Taiwan has extended international fishery cooperation by reaching fishery cooperation agreements with twenty-six countries and hopefully this may help solve the problem of not having enough fishing grounds. To achieve the goal of “responsible fishery” as demanded by international organizations, Taiwan continues to adjust the industrial structure of deep-sea tuna long line fishing fishery to compromise the number of fishing boats with tuna quota. Additionally, to protect Taiwan’s interests in deep-sea fishing and fulfill the flag-of-country responsibility, Taiwan has taken active part in international fishery organizations, primarily tuna control organizations, covering the three oceans, including the “International Commission for the conversation of Atlantic Tuna” (ICCAT), etc. Through international cooperation, Taiwan hopes to extend participation and achieve the goal of resources conservation and management.
B. Promotion of Resources Management Fishery
To diversify offshore fishery and build artificial fishing grounds, the council in 2004 released 4,000 utility-pole reefs and 30 large steel reefs in 16 artificial reef zones along the coastline and planned these manmade fishing grounds to become attractions for diversified high-grade leisure activities such as undersea tourism, boat-fishing and diving through a complete management mechanism. Breeding fry were released to build up fishery resources. The total number of 10 million of fry of garouper, tilapia, long-nose bass, mullet, threadfin, and spangled emperor, etc. would eventually increase as much as 4,250 tons of fishery resources. Simultaneously, in order to ease the pressure of over-fishing in coastal and offshore waters and effectively reduce the number of fishing boats and eliminate boats that were out of condition, starting in the fiscal year of 2001, the second stage of boat reduction was implemented and eighteen boats, around 590 in boat-tonnage, were purchased by the government in 2004.
The council has taken educative measures for fishery resources conservation and cracked down on unlawful fishing. Aside from policing missions executed by the Coast Guard Administration of the Executive Yuan, fishery patrol boats belonging to the Fishery Administration of this council and Taipei City, Taipei County, Yilan County, Yilan City, the Penghu islands and Keelung City and Keelung County and the “Joint Task Force Against Unlawful Fishing” organized in coordination with various county and municipal authorities are also performing law enforcement against illegal fishing. In 2004, 101 violations were caught.
C. Improvement of Aquaculture Management
Selection of aquacultural fry was carried out to help develop core aquaculture and cobia and garouper were chosen to be the core fish species. Consolidation of management scales concluded with installing 46 aquacultural production zones on 13,481 hectares of land area. In 2004, three sea water supply stations were completed in Beishiliao in Pingtung County and 36 km of drainage facilities in Yunlin and Jiayi Counties were renovated.
Diversified sales channels have been built to upgrade market functions. In 2004, five fish goods retail centers were completed and began operation in the Magong Fishing Port in Penghu, Yongan Port in Taoyuan, Jiangjun and Anping in Tainan and Jiancheng Port in Kaohsiung County. The same year the council brought in computerized bidding systems for Taipei Fish Product Co. and subsidized the Pusin Fish Market of Jiayi and Changhua to renew its computerized bidding systems. Private participation in the business operation of the Aquacultureal Fry Relay Center in Tainan’s Anping Port was promoted. The facilities of the relay station in Vietnam were increased to expand the international market for aquacultural fry.
To enhance safe fish production and marketing and promote high-grade aquaculture systems, COA released in 2004 the “Criteria for Installation of Good Aquaculture Practice” and the “Guideline for Application and Assistance for Good Aquaculture Practice” to help fish farmers improve their own management and control abilities. 36 farms passed the high-grade aquacultural farm certification. At the same time, to protect the interests of manufacturers and consumers, the council has set up nine fish product inspection centers, including one in Pingtung University of Science and Technology, to perform inspection for chemical residues in aquacultural products before sale and environmental monitoring. The Fishery Administration of COA also works with eight county and city governments to conduct monitoring and random-checks on fish farming feed to ensure quality. Additionally. The production profile system has been introduced to improve control of production and marketing information. In the future, there will also be the electronic production control and supply chain tracking systems to enable consumers to judge by the barcode and trace the production and marketing process of a certain fish product to ensure product safety.
D. Assistance in Diversified Use of Fishing Ports
To promote transformation of traditional fishing businesses in the direction of leisure recreation, tourism, education and culture, the council has carried on multifunction construction plans for fishing ports to increase their functions. In 2004, public facility construction was carried out in 63 fishing ports. In particular, in line with the plan to attract more tourists, floating docks, boardwalks and landscaped environment were constructed in Tansui and Audi Ports in Taipei County, Bisha Port in Keelung and Wushi Port in Yilan to develop tourist leisure fishery with local characters. In the future, private investment in fishing port management and construction will be promoted to encourage development of leisure recreation or eco-tourism in local regions to expand the fishery industry.
V. Promotion of Consolidated Management of Animal Husbandry
A. Establishment of Modernized Production and Marketing System for Animal and Poultry Products
The council has assisted pig farmer groups to organize strategic alliances and promoted cooperative management for production and marketing. 10 meat markets have added carcass cutting and processing equipment and transformed into multifunctional distribution centers. To speed up modernization of meat product sales, the council has also offered guidance to frozen meat merchants and traditional butchers to set up 10 specialized stalls in supermarkets and 8 “stores within store” with cryogenic freshness control demonstration to set the example for modernized sales of domestic pork.
COA has encouraged public projects such as installation of poultry meat export processing plants, planned for year-round series sales of domestic poultry products, improved efficiency of animal and poultry production and marketing and created diverse consuming channels for the products. In addition, after the low pathogenic avian influenza was cleared, the council has made efforts to open export markets for poultry products and Japan has passed the permission for import of fresh poultry products from Taiwan.
The certification of “Good Pig Farm”, the assessment of dairy ranches and good deer ranches, and the labeling of “Good Domestic Black-haired Pork have been extended. Other good animal and poultry product certifications such as the “Fresh Milk” certification are also in progress. To upgrade the value of pork products, the council has initiated the plan to screen for stock pigs with good meat genes and promoted production of high-grade “Snowy Grain Pork” with fatty marble grain and fine flavor. The HACCP auditing system for poultry meat has been established to enforce inspection of white meat chickens by the proprietor before slaughtering to improve hygiene and safety of poultry products. The council has also planning the establishment of the production profile system for good poultry farms and assisted producers at all stages to enforce record building.
B. Improvement of Ranch management and Pollution Control
In regard to pollutions caused by pig and chicken farms, the council has conducted periodic function checks on wastewater disposal facilities and educational programs. 17 pig farms have adopted water recycling to save over 20% of water. 48 farms have set up demonstrative deodorant spraying facilities. The five chemical material transportation trucks purchased by county/city industrial groups with COA subsidies helped authorities transport infected chickens to the incinerators to be destroyed during the bird’s flu crisis. The “Satellite Tracking System for Control of Chemical Material Transportation Trucks” has been put in use to monitor the movement of chemical material transportation trucks belonging to related industrial groups. The council has also supervised the management of basic information on the supply sources of chemical materials that pig farmers’ associations in Changhua and Tainan Counties had entrusted for disposal.
C. Stabilization of Feed Supply and Prices
Taiwan has opened importation of bulk commodities. Corn and soybean powder are two main ingredients in animal feed – corn about 60% and soybean powder 15% to 20%, and the US is Taiwan’s number one feed grain supplier. When domestic feed grain prices go up, the council immediately assists related businesses to purchase corn and soybean from countries other than the US. When necessary, the council consults the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to open importation of corn and soybean from China to meet specific demands. The council also assists related industrial groups to conduct the import of corn and soybean powder for animal feed or sometimes works with businesses to adjust feed formulae by using other ingredients to replace corn. Furthermore, the council also consults the Fair Trade Commission to monitor feed grain price fluctuations in the country and shipment schedules. The council itself keeps a close watch everyday feed prices, import quantities and dock inventories to maintain fair competition in animal husbandry.
D. Counter Measures for Total Opening of Pig and Chicken Products in 2005
By 2005 Pig and chicken imports are totally open. No more import duties or quotas can be applied. Since Taiwan relies on importation for animal feed and related production materials, production and marketing costs are therefore high. Plus there is a big margin between the price of domestic and foreign chicken legs and that of pig side meat; when importation of pig and chicken products is completely opened, the impact on pig farmers and meat chicken businesses will be the heaviest. To reduce the impact, the council has counseled related businesses to improve their production and marketing skills and efficiency, strengthen the functions of their organizations and extend the accessibility of their production and marketing information, so that they can adjust their production plans at any time to balance the demand and supply of pig and chicken products. In addition, in marketing strategy, they should accelerate the establishment of quality certification of domestic products, promotion of production profile system and expansion of sales channels for good pig and chicken products to win the hearts of consumers to keep the domestic market. Aside from the above, in response to trade globalization, the council has continued to negotiate with foreign countries and participated in international food fairs to bring good animal and poultry products to international markets.
VI. Perfection of the Agricultural Disease Control Network
A. Completion of the National Animal and Plant Disease Quarantine Center
The modern animal and plant disease quarantine center is located near CKS International Airport. It includes 11 buildings for large- and medium-size animals, 1 for quarantine of dogs and cats, 1 for fowl, 1 for greenhouse facilities for plants, 1 garden for quarantine of seedlings, 1 administration center and other facilities. In 2004, most civil engineering and utility and air-conditioning projects were completed and are presently under acceptance inspection. Preparation work for the grand opening is being planned. Hopefully the center can operate smoothly in the future to prevent animal and plant diseases from coming in the country.
B. Prevention of Serious Diseases from Overseas
Results from COA’ s continued monitoring for spongiform encephalopathies (or mad cow disease), rabies, high pathogenic avian influenza, cow plague, Mediterranean fruit flies, Codlin moths and golden nematodes show that Taiwan has remained uninfected by these diseases, because Taiwan is a “vaccine-using non-foot-and-mouth-disease-infected country” . Once the risk is assessed to be very low, according to the Executive Yuan’s “Plan for Extermination of Pig’s Plague and Foot-and-Mouth Disease” , vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease will be stopped in January 2006.
To prevent spread of serious disease through seedlings, COA announced the implementation of “Guideline for Inspection for Unspecific Diseases of Tangerines” in 2004 to enforce inspection for certain diseases in seedlings. The same unspecific disease inspection is presently being planned to apply on butterfly orchids and calla lilies. The specific disease inspection of flamingo lilies has so far completed checkup on 1.23 million plants.
To stop serious diseases from entering Taiwan, control and quarantine procedures at international ports have been toughened up. In 2004, 85,520 incoming and 85,635 outgoing checks were performed. Eight teams of detector dogs have been assigned to help detect animal and plant protects in passengers’ luggage.
The National Red Fire Ant Control Center has been created to prevent red fire ants from coming into Taiwan and enhance educative measures for the extermination of red fire ants. The Standard Operation Procedure for Red Fire Ant Control and the Three-year Operation Plan for Red Fire Ant Control have been made. Nationwide, red fire ant density has been investigated and over 164 tons anti-red fire ant insecticide purchased and distributed among local governments to be issued to farmers. Red fired ant control demonstration seminars have been conducted and toll-free numbers and red fire ant control Web site installed to serve as channels for outbreak reporting. In addition, red fire ant control squads have been organized and trained in Taipei, Taoyuan and Jiayi Counties to
C. Improvement of Agricultural Product Hygiene and Safety Inspection
To upgrade the quality of agricultural products and agricultural processing and protect the interests of consumers, the “CAS” labeling has been improved and extended. According to Article 27, Paragraph 3 of “Statute for Agricultural Development”, aiming at improving and mending management of application for CAS labeling and tracking and auditing of unlawful labeling, the council completed, announced and implemented the “Regulations for Certification and Verification of CAS Products” and the regulations have been used as the basis to promote consolidation of related agricultural product verification and labeling. As of the end of 2004, COA had promoted CAS certification for fifteen years, covering thirteen categories, namely good meat products, frozen food, fruit and vegetable juices, rice, pickled fruit and vegetables, instant meals, fresh mushrooms, refrigerated precooked food, fermented food, snack food, eggs, fresh precut vegetables and forestry products (bamboo coal. In total, 228 businesses and 5,723 products, with production value of nearly NT$40 billion, had passed the CAS certification.
To improve animal feed and control additives, the council has worked with feed manufacturers to establish the HACCP system to guarantee quality and performed 2,277 item/times of additive inspection. There have been 45 positive reactions, or 1.98%. In agricultural chemical control, COA has supervised and coordinated with local authorities to crack down on counterfeit or inferior agricultural chemicals. Out of 1,537 business/times and 1,143 already marketed items inspected, 60 counterfeit and 163 inferior quality agricultural chemicals were found and fined or prosecuted. The council has also requested the Director General of Customs and Coast Guard Administration to classify illegally imported counterfeit agricultural chemicals as a key target like guns and narcotics.
To enforce control of animal drugs, inspection for chemical residue before animal and poultry products are marketed and educative programs on safe use of animal drugs have been conducted. In 2004, COA performed random check on 74,732 meat pig serum samples and passing rate was 99.72%. Out of 6,962 samples of pork (liver), beef (liver) goat meat (liver) and chicken, 98.71% passed the criteria. The council has also organized joint operations with local government to check on veterinary drugs and found 27 violations against “Enforcement Rules of Veterinary Drugs Control Act” and issued administrative fines. 8 cases involving counterfeit, banned or inferior quality veterinary drugs were indicted.
Until 2004, seventy-five slaughterhouses had obtained legal registration certificates. COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) had sent out 392 inspectors to the said slaughterhouse to check on hygiene and examined 8.1 million pigs and 16.209 million fowls.
D. Prevention of Slaughtering and Sales of Pigs Dying of Unidentified Diseases
To ensure safety of meat consumption, BAPHIQ has worked with or sent without fixed schedules inspectors to assist local joint inspection squads to check for illegal slaughtering and performed 569 inspections in 2004. 44 violations were found; 236 pig, cow and goat carcasses, 172 geese and 27,279 kg of cut-up meat were confiscated and each responsible agent was fined NT$100,000. 6 cases of overdue fine payment were transferred to the Administrative Execution Division to enforce payment. 22,376 farm/times of inspection were executed on the handling of farmed animals dying of unidentified diseases. 175,374 invoices were audited to clarify sources of chemical raw materials. 27,874 proofs of entrusted waste disposal for animal farms were audited. 75 road checks on chemical raw material transportation vehicles and 209 sampling checks of chemical raw materials were performed. All results of pathogenic tests for foot-and-mouth disease, pig’s plague, Swine vesicular disease and Newcastle disease were negative.
To ensure hygiene and safety of meat consumption in Taiwan, on February 25 2005, the council conducted the “Interdisciplinary Meeting for Supervision of Enforcement” with the Department of Health, the Environmental Protection Administration, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior to improve communication and division of labor for the control of pigs dying of unidentified diseases. The “Plan for Preventive Measures against Illegal Use of Pigs Dying of Unidentified Diseases” was discussed and passed as a basis for conduction of life insurance for pigs. Using insurance benefits for compensation, pigs dying of unidentified diseases were to be collected for chemical treatment, dyed and put through modification process to prevent use. Meat safety is closely guarded from the farm to the table.
VII. Improvement of International Marketing of Agricultural Products
A. Promotion of Expansion of Agricultural Exports
After thirty-three years of waiting, Taiwanese rice was allowed into the Japanese market for the first time in 2004. In September the same year, Taiwanese poultry meat also made reentry into Japan. Taiwan papayas were granted permission to be imported to Japan starting on December 1 2004. Butterfly orchids were allowed into the US with attached mediums. Up to date, 4 orchid orchards have passed American certification and 3,718 orchid plants had been exported to America as of January 18 2005.
In addition, the council has actively consolidated farmer groups and food businesses to participate in 15 international food fairs and professional shows resulting in NT$600 million’s worth of transactions. Follow-up purchases are estimated to reach NT$1.9 billion. Fifteen “Taiwanese Agriculture Festival” activities have been held in supermarkets in China, Hong Kong, Japan and the US and the off-the shelf sales totaled around NT$120 million. These overseas promotions have undoubtedly increased exposure of Taiwanese agricultural products.
B. Improvement of Quarantine Technology and Facilities
In 2004, two steam-processing quarantine centers were installed in Hsiaogang, Kaohsiung and Yujing, Tainan and were expected to considerably increase the steam-processing capacity for fresh fruit exports fro Japan as well as export quantities and values. To further expand the export market for Taiwanese fruit, the council has continued to study effective quarantine and pest control techniques and applied for certification in various countries. So far, the US has opened the door for mangos, lichees and carambolas. Japan has allowed imports of tangerines, pomeloes, white pomeloes, grapes, lichees, and mangos. The Koreans are importing Taiwanese mangos. In the same year, Japan also okayed the import of papayas and New Zealand started to bring in mangos from Taiwan. Effective quarantine and pest control techniques have also been developed for carambolas, dragon fruits and cantaloupes. Test reports will be sent to Australia, Japan and New Zealand for review. In addition, related experiments for the development of quarantine and pest control techniques and quality control for export-potentials such as grafted pears, guavas and jujube dates are in progress.
C. Extension of Export Zones and Overseas Sales Outlets
To lay a solid foundation for export-oriented businesses, butterfly orchids, oolong tea, mangos and Taiwan tilapia have been selected as Taiwan’s flagship exports, and export zones have been created to enhance the supply chain of export products and related measures for international marketing.
Sales outlets have been set up in Hong Kong and Japan to promote high-grade agricultural products from Taiwan, receive orders and integrate the functions of local channels and distributors. In 2004, the total agricultural export values stood at US$3.518, an 8.65% growth from 2003.
VIII. Creation of New Rural Looks
A. Promotion of Overall Rural Community Building
To speed up rural development, express local cultural and landscape features, implement the concept of “overall community building”, and promote sustainable rural development, the council in 2004 completed detailed planning for 6 farm villages, substantial rural construction in 80 regions, awarded the develop 5 farmhouses, and promoted rural community re-planning and development in 7 areas to help achieve the goal of building sustainable economic agriculture, new rural looks and new beautiful home.
The council also conducted 244 classes for improvement of life of senior citizens in rural areas. 14,587 senior citizens participated. At the same time, 26 farmers’ associations received assistance from the council to manage rural community life support center and 650 voluntary workers were trained to help rural families to maintain through difficult times. The council also provided assistance to 220 local farmers’ associations to conduct and improve home economics classes, healthful aging, aging at home and parent-support to build healthy life in rural areas. 57,667 families have been benefited.
B. Consolidation of Rural Community Organizations and Activities
The council has assisted ninety-seven township farmers’ associations to integrate the farmers’ association, farmer groups and community development association in the community to organize study-oriented community groups and help the inhabitants plan for future development and promote community construction. International symposiums on “Union of Villagers for Rural Revival” and regional demonstration seminars have been conducted. Ninety-seven 4H operation groups have been organized in 151 townships in 15 counties and cities to conduct activities such as 4H Young Leader Camp, Improvement Camp under Volunteered Guidance and Rural Service by College Students, etc. 28,977 attended these activities. The council has also set up ten agricultural regional teaching centers and conducted 576 classes for training of agricultural promotion manpower and second skills of farmers and fishermen. 12,705 people signed up for the programs.
C. Assistance for Recreational Agriculture
In 2004, the council revised and announced eight recreational agriculture related laws and regulations including the “Regulation for Guidance and Management of Recreational Agriculture”, “Regulations for Design of Recreational Farm Construction” and “Guideline for Reviewing of Recreational Management Plans”. The key issues revised include authorizing county and municipal government to administer applications for land areas under ten hectares and raising the ratio of land reclassification for division of rest areas on recreational farms to 10%. Four rounds of seminars on recreational farm laws and regulations and theme-developing and management demonstration for recreational farms were conducted. 184 recreational farms have been granted approvals to prepare to set up and 24 have received business permits.
In 2004, 63 townships in 14 counties and cities received subsidies to conduct planning for recreational fishing and agriculture zones. County and municipal governments were to integrate the fishing, agricultural and cultural resources of all subordinate townships to makes plans for training of related manpower, development of related creative products, hosting of relevant activities and development of software and hardware.
The council has commissioned the conduction of creative product contest for recreational fishing and agriculture zones and competition of recreational agricultural photography and subsidized the Green Expo in Yilan. It has also planned the recreational agriculture theme showroom to participate in Taipei International Travel Fair and other international travel fairs. Seven million people are estimated to have taken a rural recreational tour. This helped created seven hundred fulltime jobs and NT$4.5 billion’s worth of business opportunities.
The council has conducted 99 showings of local industrial cultural activity, including at the Taipei International Travel Fair. In addition, it has also offered assistance to 41 units to successfully develop creative agricultural products with distinctive local features and attend food fairs to upgrade local cuisines and quality of souvenirs. 91 classes aimed at helping rural women develop skills for part-time work and management were conducted and created 450 job.
D. Accelerate reconstruction of rural settlement
In line with revitalization of reconstruction areas and promotion of agricultural recreation and tourism, in 2004, COA conducted 99 projects for public and recreational facilities and environmental gardening, awarded or subsidized 37 families for building houses conforming to rural natural landscapes and helped organized 31 industrial cultural activities to improve community public facilities, recreational activities, ecological environment and revitalization of rural industries.
IX. Upgrade of Farmers’ Welfare and Assistance in Restructuring of Farmer Groups
A. Assistance for Forming Strategic Alliance Formation and Voluntary Integration of Farmers’ Associations
Based on systems and legal regulations, this council initiated the revision of certain clauses of Farmers’ Association Act and presented to the Executive Yuan for review and then the Legislative Yuan for deliberation to encourage merging of farmers’ associations at various levels. Either neighboring farmers’ associations of similar business nature were free to combine or, using county as a basic unit, the operations of farmers’ associations below the county level were to be combined. In 2004, The council assisted the farmers’ associations of Mito, Baihe, Dongshi, Fuhsing, Shimen and Lujhou to perform business improvement and create management transformation.
B. Promotion of Reviving Plans for Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Associations and Diversified Management of Irrigation Associations
In 2004, the council continued to subsidize the reviving plans of 36 farmers’ and fishermen’s associations, whose credit department’s business had been taken over by banks, to help sustain their business, serve farmers and fishermen and extend their business gains. By the end of the year, the business gains of these 36 farmers’ and fishermen’s associations had developed an 11% increase over the previous year.
To upgrade financial independence of irrigation associations, the council provided step-by-step guidance to promote projects for diversified management. City-based irrigation associations were advised to perform real estate check and lease out idle land and houses and countryside-based associations should improve water supply for public and industrial use and develop tourism businesses to increase income, reduce government burdens and extend services.
C. Issuance of Welfare Allowance for Senior Farmers and Scholarships for Children of Farmers and Fishermen
Starting on January 1, 2004, the senior farmer’s welfare allowance was raised from NT$3000 to NT$4000 and the adjustment was institutionalized to take place every five years to provide more protection for the economic security of senior farmers and fishermen. In 2004, the total senior farmer’s welfare allowance issued was NT$32,076,239,000, benefiting over 717,000 farmers and fishermen, and scholarships for children of farmers and fishermen added to NT$1,380,450,000, helping 201,763 people.
D. Aid and Subsidies for Agriculture and fishery
To alleviate the damages of farmers and fishermen from natural disasters and help farmers and fishermen resume production within shortest time, in accordance with Article 3 of Guideline for Agricultural Natural Disaster Aid the council is to conduct cash relief, subsidization or low interest loans and issued in 2004 NT$1,941,520,000 in cash for relief and subsidies and helped 84,148 farming and fishing families. In addition, on February 17 2005, the council amended related regulations of Guideline for Agricultural Natural Disaster Aid to lower the criteria for cash relief and low interest loans. Aside from lowing the threshold for cash relief and low interest loans according to government statistics of agricultural crop damages in the entire county or city, the regulated 40% or above no-harvest of single crop or single aquacultural object within county jurisdiction was brought down to 30%; while at the township level the 30% or above was reduced to 20% and above.
X. Improvement of Agricultural Financing System
A. Improvement of Management of the Credit Department of Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Associations
Acting in accordance with “Agricultural Financing Act” and its relative regulations, the council has been actively engaged in guidance and improvement for related business of the credit department of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and announced on July 30 2004 the “Criteria for Recognition and Handling of Controversial Assets Conceded by the Credit Department of Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Association to Banks”, to facilitate the recognition and handling of controversial assets taken over by banks from the credit department of 36 farmers’ and fishermen’s associations. The council evaluated the overall finance, business situation, operation proposal and management team of the Farmers’ Association of Niaosong Township of Kaohsiung County when it applied for reinstatement of its credit department. After strict evaluations, the council gave its approval and the credit department of the association was back in business on June 28 2004.
The credit department of Hsinpi Township Farmers’ Association in Pingtung County was in bad business and had a negative net value after financial inspection adjustment. The council then took over according to “Agricultural Financing Act” on December 17 2004 and studied and the feasibility of a two-stage annexation with the Farmers’ Association of Nanchou Township in Pingtung County to hopefully accomplish the first horizontal merging of two farmers’ associations of the same level.
Until the end of 2004, the total annual profits of all farmers and fishermen’s associations amounted to NT$2.14 billion, with a net value of NT$77.1 billion. The figures were respectively an increase of NT$2.16 billion and NT$1.3 billion. In asset quality, overdue loans added to 80.8 billion, or 14.46%, and bad loan coverage was 24.13%. These were respective 1.87 billion or 3.11% lower and 4.18% higher in comparison to 2003. It shows the management of the credit department of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations was gradually improving.
B. Professional Management of the national Agricultural Treasury
During the period of preparation for the National Agricultural Treasury in 2004, stock share pay-up, company regulations, organization framework, information system, election of board members and controllers were all completed. Preparation work will be taken over by the new board of directors and the National Agricultural Treasury is expected to begin operation during the first half of 2005. The role this council will switch from a foreground participant to behind-the-scene supervisor.
C. Extension of Special Policy-oriented Agricultural Loans
To reduce the interest burdens of farmers, beginning on February1 2004, the annual interest rate of special policy-oriented agricultural loans was lowered from 2-2.5% to 1.5-2%. At the same time, terms of credit were relaxed and loan objectives were extended. From 2000 to 2004, loan categories were increased from 18 to 33 and annual loan interests, except the 2.2% for consulted farmhouse renovation and the 3.5% for financial improvement, for all categories would be 1.5% or 2% to greatly upgrade the accessibility and convenience of agricultural financing. Since the inception of special agricultural loans in 1973 to 2004, the total loans of NT$162.4 billion had benefited 352,651 families.
D. Cultivation of Agricultural Financing Specialists
The expertise and enthusiastic service of agricultural financing workers make up the cornerstone of the sustainable management of the credit department of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations. To upgrade these people’s knowledge and capability, the council conducted 49 agricultural financing classes for professional training, teamwork development, agricultural loan promotion and policy education and communication in 2004. 3,404 person/times attended the programs.
XI. Improvement of Irrigation management and Construction
A. Use of Ecological Engineering to Promote Irrigation Construction
448 km of irrigation systems and 1,129 related devices were renovated in 2004 in hope of minimizing damages drought and flooding hazards, reducing water loss and enhancing effective use of water resources. Placing emphasis on both eco-environment and landscape gardening, individual irrigation associations made the selection of project items to try ecological engineering. Eco-engineering of irrigation routes was conducted in 25 places.
B. Promotion of Modern Water-saving Pipeline Irrigation
With abnormally changing weather across the globe, solving irrigation problems in dry seasons to improve efficiency in water use has become more and more urgent. Compared to traditional flushing or furrow, pipeline irrigation can save up to over 50% of water. Up to the end of 2004, over 23,000 hectares of farmland had received government subsidies to adopt it and this could save as much as 110 million cubic meters of water in agricultural irrigation every year. Over 30,000 farmers has benefited from the improvement. In addition, pipeline irrigation has also been pervasively used to irrigate high cash crops such as flowers and fruit trees and has effectively upgraded the quality.
XII. Improvement of Water and Soil Conservation of Hillside Land
A. Promotion of Full-scale Forestation, Disaster Prevention and Landscape Gardening
In 2004, 1,553 projects for forestation and disaster prevention were implemented. The execution rate was over 95%. The “Overall Report on the Surveys and Planning of the 4 th Phase of the Forestation and Disaster Prevention Plan” was completed. The council has also established the evaluation mechanism for the handling priorities of 1,261 secondary catchment areas and, with the new management concept of regarding the whole river basin and the catchment area as one single unit, conducted full-scale catchment planning and management. Among the measures employed, the Control and Evaluation System for Integrated Water and Soil Conservation Construction won the first place of the 2004 Outstanding Information Application and Product Award. It was supplemented with a remote engineering control system and the quality of engineering was effectively upgraded
B. Promotion of Diversified Hillside Land Resources Conservation and Sustainable Development
The council has implemented regional water and soil conservation programs to enhance conservation of hillside land and basic construction for environmental safety and develop water and soil conservation facilities conforming to the managing habits of farmers and economic effects. In 2004, 12,020 hectares of regional areas were being tended to and job opportunities were locally created for 677,269 person/days as a result from the extension of employing local inhabitants for the mudslide control and hillside land conservation work.
C. Establishment of Advanced Mudslide Hazard Prevention and Response Mechanisms
To improve mudslide hazard prevention, monitoring and response, the first mudslide observation vehicle in the world was put in service in 2004. Monitoring locations can be flexibly adjusted according to the route of the typhoon. The first-ever mobile educative equipment for mudslide prevention was made to disseminate mudslide prevention information to remote mountain areas and villages. At the same time, the first voiced disaster prevention broadcasting system was develop to enhance evacuation measures for mudslides according to the recently announced “Regulations for Evacuation Procedures for Mudslides”. 16,200 DIY rainfall measurers were also distributed to help improve the public’s disaster prevention capacity.
XIII. Conservation of Natural Environment and Maintenance of Environmental Ecology
A. Improvement of Forestation and Landscape Gardening
The Forestation by All Program has remained in progress to promote water and green construction. In 2004, the council promoted forestation over 3,000 hectares, nurtured 35,091 hectares of forested land, and completed ecological forestation on 482 hectares, flatland forestation on 1,325 hectares, landscaping gardening on 250 hectares and coastal ecological reforestation 71.91 hectares.
B. Improvement of Administration of National Team-managed Forestland, Security Forests and Natural Reservations
For the administration of national team-managed forestland, the Forestry Bureau of this council has 716 rangers and 1,326 patrol timetable boxes to guard 448 zones. To enforce the forest protection and management responsibility system, unscheduled random audition is implemented to enhance the evaluation of rangers. On July 1 2004, the Forest and Natural Conservation Police Team was created in coordination with the National Police Administration. The 178 policemen were assigned to work with forest rangers to combat violations of the Forestry Act by using aerial photography to monitor changes and damages in resources. In 2004, MOI’s National Land Monitoring Program was added to monitor the illegal lumbering and squatting inside the jurisdiction of Dongshi and Jiayi Forestry Administration Divisions. The high-resolution satellite image detection from SPOT-5 and ROC Satellite II will help forest monitoring considerably.
For the administration of security forests, the council conducted the review on security forests on the Island of Taiwan and evaluated 58,752 hectares. According to Article 25 of Forestry Act, the evaluation criteria for reclassification of security forests were engendered and announced on November 30 2004 for implementation.
For the administration of natural reservations, the council made the announcement of “Wildlife Habitats of Kaomei, Taichung County” and the “Wildlife Reservation in Kaomei, Taichung County” in 2004. The total number of various natural reservations is now 82. There had been 2000 cases of violation and hunting equipment found. The council conducted 27 special research and filming projects for the reservations and trained 4,200 person/times for conservation expertise and voluntary work. Eco-conservation programs, environment education and community presentations received attendance of about 100,000 person/times. Subsidization for 165 communities was passed. Conservation concepts are being rooted in local communities.
C. Promotion of Forest Tourism
In 2004, the council conducted 39 public facility construction or reconstruction projects inside forest recreation zones, planned 16 ecological itineraries, assessed the itineraries for 8 areas in national forest recreation zones, performed monitoring on eco-tourism environment at 8 places, conducted 185 environment education and exposition activities for 57 trails, introduced the ISO9001 international quality management system and signed the contract with private investors who had made their plans and applied to participate in the construction and management of Fuyuan Forest Recreation Zone. The council eventually won the Government Agency Excellent Performance Prize of the 3 rd Jinbo Award for bringing private investment in public construction in both the Ali Mountain Guesthouse and the Fuyuan Forest Recreation Zone projects.
The council has continued to plan for the reconstruction of national forest trail systems and by the end of 2004 has completed the study and formulation of all regulations and investigation of resources. The Web site for introduction of national forest trail systems and management data system were completed and received 166,000 hits in 2994. Additionally, to preserve forestry history and forestry culture, planning and design and other related work for reconstruction of forestry culture parks in Donshi, Lotung and Hualien.
D. Conservation of Biodiversity
According to the “Plan for Biodiversity Promotion”, the council has continued to conduct on-the-spot conservation and management and established a 300km long natural conservation axle along the Central Mountains, covering around 630 thousand hectares, accounting for 17.5% of total surface area of the island. To protect ocean biodiversity, up till 2004, the council had worked with ruling offices at all levels to announce and create twenty-four fishery resources conservation zones over 5,700 hectares of waters. Additionally, in line with continuous revisions of Forestry Law, Wildlife Protection Act, Cultural Asset Preservation Act, etc. COA has also studied and revised related regulations such as the “Draft for Regulations on Establishment and Management of Natural Reservations”.
E. Improvement of Forest Fire Prevention and Alert Mechanism
In order to promptly collect information and alert on forest fires and put out fires before serious damages could happen, the Forestry Bureau of this council is currently equipped with 1,884 wireless radio sets, 02 transmission base stations, 145 mobile transmission stations and 48 relay stations to form a tight communication network and increase communication power in mountain areas. There are also 960 sets of GPS equipment and 935 motorcycles to enhance positioning and mobility in mountains. When fire hazards take place, the bureau is able to engage full-scale coordination with the National Rescue Command Center, National Airborne Service Corps and Fire Agency of MOI, and local fire departments to put out the fire at the first opportunity.
XIV. Enhancement of International Agricultural Cooperation
A. Active Participation in WTO and Other International Organizations and Relevant Activities
COA has taken active part in WTO-related meetings and activities such as the Doha round of agricultural negotiation and strengthened ties with countries with similar bearing to protect Taiwan’s interests. COA has also made efforts to apply for the hosting of agricultural activities of APEC and APO to increase Taiwan’s agricultural cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Furthermore, COA has improved cooperation with important international agricultural agencies in Taiwan such as the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC).
B. Promotion of Mutually Beneficial International Cooperation
To promote agricultural diplomacy, COA has conducted international meetings such as the “Taiwan-US Agricultural Task Force Meeting”, the “First Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Task Force Meeting” and the “9 th Taiwan-Okinawa Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Exchange Meeting”, etc. The “Taiwan-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Understanding Memo” and the “Taiwan-Papua New Guinea Agricultural Technology Agreement Renewal” have been signed. In addition, to enhance cooperation with countries in the Southeast Asia region, COA has administered five programs, including the “Graduate Training Program in Vietnamese Agricultural Technology and Human Resources”, as well as dispatched specialists to South America to offer assistance in agricultural planning and development and perform environment assessment for fishery investment in accordance with government policy.
C. Effective Control of Cross-Strait Agricultural Trade and Investment
Since Taiwan did not cite the Exclusion Provision against China when joining the WTO, as a member, Taiwan should in principle abide by the MFN (Most Favored Nation) regulation of the organization and apply the same import control on Chinese agricultural products would on all other WTO members. However, since the Cross-Strait relations are rather particular and the tension remains unimproved, Taiwan has continued to adopt partly item-by-item reviewing and partly open control mode for Chinese agricultural imports in hope of minimizing the impact on domestic agriculture, creating opportunities to negotiate with China and reserve room for negotiation in the future.
As agricultural trade and investment between the two shores increase by the day, COA has cautiously readjusted the opening of Cross-Strait agricultural trade and investment categories on the principles of “Taiwan First”, “Global Deployment”, “Win-win Situation” and “Risk Control” while at the same time strengthened Taiwan’s technological development and protective mechanism for certain species and actively opened the Chinese agricultural product market. In agricultural product trade, currently 1,473 Taiwanese items have the permission to be exported to China, accounting for 62.5% of all of Taiwan’s agricultural product items and bringing in US$290 million, a 66% increase from the year before. The total agricultural imports from China in 2004 amounted US$501 million, 22.6% more than 2003. These figures show that trade between the two sides after joining WTO has been busy and agricultural trade deficit has decreased. There were 4,709 Taiwanese agricultural investments, or US$3.32 billion in value, in China by the end of 2004. The majority was food and beverage manufacturing businesses, taking up around 58.2%.