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Cropping System Adjustment and Farmland Activation Plan
I. Background introduction
In response to global climate change and maintenance of domestic food security, the government assists farmers either to grow other corps, choose fallow to plant green manure corps, or turn over the soil, so as to adjust the industrial structure and keep the farmland’s fertility and versatility. In order to activate fallow land, increase food self-sufficiency rate and maintain production environments, the government launched the “Cropping System Adjustment and Farmland Activation Plan” since 2013. The plan prioritizes the 48,000-hectare farmland left fallow in consecutive two cropping seasons to be activated. Every year the farmland can be left fallow to grow green manure only in one cropping season. In the next cropping season, it is encouraged to grow some crops in a way of contract farming, which can substitute imported products, have export potential, be organic, and boost local specialties. The purpose of the plan is to transform fallow subsidies into contract farming subsidies, to promote contract farming to stabilize farmers’ income, to diversify the use of farmland, and to increase production.
II. Plan objectives and implementation strategies
1. Plan objectives
(1) Adjust the cropping system, activate the fallow farmland, maintain agricultural production environments, increase agricultural outputs, and create employment opportunities.
(2) Attract more young farmers, expand business scale, and enhance agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
(3) Improve food self-sufficiency rate and maintain national food security.
2. Implementation strategies and measures
(1) Adjust fallow subsidies. The farmland left fallow in one cropping season is still given with subsidies while in the next cropping season, it is encouraged to resume production and given with contract farming subsidies of NT$15,000-45,000 per hectare.
(2) ARS stationed in different areas. The Agricultural Research Institutes organize the “fallow farmland rehabilitation service group.” It encourages farmers to grow crops able to substitute imported products, have export potential, be organic, and boost local specialties. Moreover, the group provides counseling and services about technical questions like seed, pest control and farm management. In addition, in combination with agricultural water resources, it plans appropriate corps areas, promotes drought-resistant grains, and introduces water-saving irrigation systems.
(3) Strengthen central and local cooperation to develop local specialties.
(4) Continue the “Small Landlords, Big Tenants” Policy. The lease incentives, originally applied to the farmland continuously left fallow between 2006 and 2007, are now relaxed to include those left fallow between 1994 and 2003.
(5) Synchronously implement quit-farming incentives. As farmers aged over 65 years old with participation in agricultural insurance over five years lease their farmland to big tenants qualified for the “Small Landlords, Big Tenants” policy, they can receive the monthly payment of NT$2,000 per hectare.
(6) Integrate the “young farmer training program of Farmers’ Academy” to assist the cultivation of new-generation big tenants.
(7) Assist the farmland in northern and central-southern coastal areas to grow paddy in one cropping season only. The paddy grown after the second cropping season in 2014 cannot be sold to government program with guarantee price.
III. Future prospect
The “Cropping System Adjustment and Farmland Activation Plan” guides farmers from leaving their farmland fallow to growing various corps in a way of contract farming, encouraging fallow landlords to rehabilitate farming for a cropping season or to lease their farmland to others. The originally fallow farmland is encouraged to grow corps that can substitute imported products, have export potential, be organic, and boost local specialties. The goal is to increase domestic food self-sufficiency rate and ensure the sustainable use of farmland.
The farmland activation plan also includes multi-policy objectives, including adjustment of domestic industrial structure, increase of agricultural outputs, creation of employment opportunities, and vitalization of farmland. In response to the impacts after the nation enters TPP/RCEP and signs FTA in the future, the Council of Agriculture (COA) will continuously review the related measures, uphold the principle of ensuring farmers’ income, strengthen local production and local consumption, encourage farmers to grow crops able to substitute imported products, and help farmers plant those full of export potential. Moreover, it aims to establish value-added, high-quality and branded enterprise production, expand international agricultural markets, and promote, accelerate and upgrade Taiwan’ agricultural transformation.