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Turning Over a New Page in Farming Services---the Opening and Utilization of Farmland Bank


The Minister of the Council of Agriculture, Mr. Chia-ch’uan Su today invited people from all walks of life to attend the opening and utilization ceremony of Farmland Bank and inaugurated its services with representatives of general managers of farmers’ association, thereby officially announcing the opening and utilization of Farmland Bank Website, turning over a new page in the history of farming services

Farmland Bank is an important part in COA’s New Agricultural Policy, in which farmers’ and fishermen’s associations play the role of offering matchmaking services like those of farmland’s lease and sale, and, at the same time, providing an information and service platform of statues on farmland’s use and of special-case agricultural financial loans. COA indicated that, ever since the proclamation of Farmland Bank in step with the projects aiming to cultivate a new generation of young farmers like Wandervogel and Gardener projects, it has met with the recognition and lived up to the expectation of the participants of Wandervogel and Gardener projects, farmers’ associations, farmers and the authorities concerned. General-managers from various farmers’ associations expressed their willingness to support and join in unison in order to obtain the credentials of real-estate brokers in accordance with related statutes. So far, there have been 147 farmers’ associations participating in this project and 240 of their staff members who have finished their training and obtained certificates to provide this service. COA has added in particular a six-hour course on how to practice farmland regulations in the professional training to enhance the required vocational abilities of staff members in farmers’ associations. Due to the fact that preparations like institutionalizing regulations and training personnel are completed, farmers’ associations have taken steps to organize to open Farmland Bank Service Centers. There are expected to be at least 115 farmers’ associations on local level in the first stage to join the service-rendering team, including those in Taitung, Chian, Jueisuei, Mucha, Tamshuei, Wuchieh, Pingchen, Hsinpu, Chupei, Chunan, Sanyi, Tachia, Puli, Yuche, Mingchian, Tsaotuen, Tianwei, Hsihu, Shetou, Hsilo, Tounan, Peikang, Chuangpu, Yichu, Kuantian, Hsuehchia, Fangshan, Yianchao, Chutian and Neipu. These service centers are already put in place and they will be expanded into every corner of Taiwan in the near future. So far, Farmland Bank Website has posted one thousand cases of farmland lease together with the auction and sales of farmers’ associations’ bad assets, thereby facilitating farmland’s circulation and vitalizing farmland lease channel to create the new values for unused farmland and also promote the transformation of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations.

COA has also conducted an on-line survey to get a grip on how people look on the acquisition of farmland. In the retrieved six thousand or so questionnaires targeting the people aged from 20 to 60 living in urban areas, one third of the respondents was found to “constantly think about owning their own land to realize their dream to get close to land and enjoy the pastoral pleasure of farming.” It is apparent that their reason is to go back to nature and experience the rustic pleasures. What the great majority of the respondents want most is to obtain the information on farmland’s lease and sales from farmers’ associations and other financial institutes and nearly 80 percent of the interviewees want farmland to be used for growing crops, breeding or running a recreation farm. Moreover, 12 percent of the respondents are already in faming business or ready to go into farming business this year, and these people hope to rent or purchase farmland in a fashion made easier and at a lower cost. Farmland Bank is opened to serve people like them in the hope of allowing the people devoted to farming business to find a proper plot of farmland.

Although, for the past months, real-estate brokering agents hold the efforts by the government to push for farmland banking policy and pursue the objective in a positive way, they nevertheless think COA’s bid to construct Farmland Bank will take away profits from them and affect their livelihood. COA noted that, according to Agricultural Development Statutes, farmers’ associations may go into brokering business of farmland, excluding land used for construction and housing and regular constructions. Few brokering agents used to step in the trading of country farmland, let alone expanding their business into the service of farmland lease. What is particularly worth mentioning is that Farmland Bank does not deprive brokering agents of their rights to go on with the trading of farmland or bar them from exercising their rights, neither does it rule out the possibility of cooperating with them. Minister Su reiterated that COA does not advance farmland banking business to encourage farmers’ and fishermen’s associations to increase their revenue by conducting farmland’s trading, but rather to assist farmers and fishermen as a starting point, and, in step with the planned measures to promote farmland’s use and vitalize farmland lease, to eventually reach the objective of farmland smooth circulation and an effective use of farmland resources. COA also aims to introduce the vitality and originality of farmers of the new generation, thereby advancing agricultural development.

COA is also concerned with and pays attention to the issue of the security of farmland trading. In order to safeguard and reinforce the security of farmland trading and brokering, COA will not only strengthen the professional training of the staff members of farmers’ association, who go into brokerage, but also help them obtain real-estate broker’s licenses in the future. It will also continue to follow the current regulations to resolve trading disputes arising from real-estate brokering. And the regulations include the laws protecting consumers’ rights to file a complaint, consumers’ protection laws, the statutes protecting consumers’ rights to file for an intercession in villages, townships and cities and the mechanism to invoke arbitration laws to file for an arbitration. What is more important is that farmers’ and fishermen’s associations are farmers’ groups organized in keeping with farmers’ and fishermen’s association laws and their employees are covered by the Guaranteed Integrity Insurance. Farmers’ and fishermen’s associations own assets and, according to the Points to Help and Reward Farmers’ and Fishermen’ Associations Conducting the Brokering Business of Farmland, it is particularly stipulated that they are interconnectedly liable for any damages of the cases under their charge. Other specific precautions and mechanisms are also included, such as the one to recruit Farmland Bank professionals in step with the examinations of new recruits of farmers’ associations. A closed case of farmland brokerage should be entrusted to land administrators with a legitimate business license for them to conduct the deal-making signing and transference registration. As a result, cases conducted by Farmland Bank will be even more safely protected by precautions and mechanisms. COA stressed that, through Farmland Bank, farmers’ and fishermen’s associations can use to their advantage their long-standing agricultural management, marketing and close relationship with local people as a basis, on which to build the trust between farmers and fishermen and farmers’ and fishermen’s associations. All these factors help give a more secure protection to farmland trading as well as more self-assurance to farmers and fishermen.

Last but not least, COA also explained that Farmland Bank does not just offer brokering services. In COA’s medium-and-long-term plan, it is expected to induce farmers’ associations to assist farmers and help agriculture production and marketing groups and agricultural business expand their farming scale, allowing farmers who are unable or unwilling to farm to waive assuredly their usufructs of their farmland lying idle. By means of the mechanism of Farmland Bank, farmland will be offered to those truly in need of farmland for farming business in order to lay bare the government’s objective to increase Taiwan’s agricultural competitiveness and create a triple-win situation for farmers and fishermen, farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and the government. Farmland Bank’s IP address is listed as follows and everybody is welcome to visit the site: