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“Small Landlords, Big Tenants” Policy
I. Background introduction
So far, Taiwan’s average agricultural population is 62 years old while each farmer averagely has agricultural land of 1.1 hectares. Whether its agricultural business model or product sale still follows traditional ways in small scale and competitiveness. Moreover, economic liberalization cooperation around the world has become a trend. Therefore, the structure of agricultural industry should be actively adjusted. In order to adjust agricultural labor structure, expand agricultural business scale and prompt agricultural transformation, the Council of Agriculture (COA) launched the “Small Landlords, Big Tenants” policy from May 2009. The policy aims to encourage farmers unable or unwilling to do farming to long-term lease their land to those farmers willing to enlarge their farm scale. Also, it encourages young professional farmers or groups to rent agricultural land and grow some corps that can substitute imported products or export-oriented. The goal is to promote the rejuvenation of agricultural labor structure, expand farm scale, and let elderly farmers feel relieved in their retirement life. Through this way, the overall competitiveness of the nations’ agricultural sector will be improved, and more employment opportunities and revenues will be created.
II. Policy objectives and key measures
1. Policy objectives
(1) Improve the rejuvenation of agricultural labor structure
(2) Expand the farm scale
2. Key measures
(1) Small landlord measures provide the “incentive” for senior farmers. As those aged over 65 years old with participation in agricultural insurance over five years lease their land to tenants, they can receive the monthly incentive of NT$2,000 per hectare. The maximum is no more than three hectares and NT$72,000 per year.
(2) Big Tenants measures assist youths determinedly devoted to agriculture to enter the threshold successfully, conduct enterprise and mechanized production, lower business risk, and improve profit. The measures as follows:
a. Subsidy of improving leased agricultural land
b. Subsidy of contract farming for big tenants
c. Assistant packages of enterprise management (including subsidies of purchasing production equipment and applying for verification of healthy safe agricultural products)
d. Zero-interest rent and low-interest (1%) loan
e. Assistance on natural disaster
III. Implementation result
As of the end of December 2013, the policy has assisted overall land of 13,187 hectares, 25,724 small landlords, and 1,578 big tenants. Their average age is 44, lower than the average age of 62 among all the nation’s farmers. It shows that agricultural labor structure is successfully rejuvenated. Moreover, those assisted big tenants operate averagely 8.4-hectare land per farmer, the number meaning 7.6 times larger than the average area of 1.1 hectares among the nation’s farmers. The goal of preliminary expansion of operational scale has also been achieved. Furthermore, there are 620 actual assistance cases that help big tenants increase production equipment, lower labor costs and improve operational efficiency.