To effectively carry out agricultural policies and measures implementation, Minister Chen, Council of Agriculture (COA), convened the first symposium for the agricultural administrators nationwide on June 18, to communicate face-to-face with the agricultural administrators of local governments, including Taipei , Kaohsiung and other municipal and county governments, to exchange views on policies and its implementation. On the one hand, the agricultural administrators of local governments can be acquainted with the orientation of the COA’s agricultural development policy, on the other hand, the COA can also understand and help resolving the problems and difficulties confronted by the local governments while they are implementing government agricultural policies and measures.
Minister Chen expressed that current Taiwan ’s agriculture is facing the irreversible trends, such as a more open market after the WTO Doha Round Negotiations, the coopetition of agricultural commerce and trade in Cross-strait , Kyoto Protocol implementation, an era of high energy prices that drives up food prices, and the increasing demands, domestically and abroad, for hygienic and safe agricultural products. The COA is to take "health, efficiency and sustainable management " as the basic principle for agriculture implementation , and to release “Tri-Agri” visions, four priority bills and twelve focus strategies, besides specifying the method for implementation to carry out the core concept of “ to make farmers’ life good ”, bringing into full play the technology advantage of Taiwan’s agriculture and the economic-geographic condition, counseling farmers on modern operation to pursue profits and efficiency, and providing with stable quality, safe and hygienic agricultural products for consumers’ health care. In the meantime, the COA will bring Taiwan ’s agriculture to the international stage, paying much more attention to sustainable development on the industry, environment and landscape, raising farmers’ income, establishing a beautiful new countryside building Taiwan into a " non-toxic agricultural island " , and constructing a modern agriculture sector which roots at present, cares for the future and accesses the world.
In addition, the COA addressed the policies on raising fertilizer prices and on the amendment of the " Regulations for the Agricultural Natural Disaster Aid " responding to the recent public concerns. For resolving the problems about raising prices of fertilizers from the import of raw materials and the hoarding of fertilizer that caused supply and demand imbalance, the COA was to take measures on fertilizer price adjustment by government subsidies together with Taiwan Fertilizer Co. absorbing 85 percent of the price increase, and farmers bearing only the rest of 15 percent, to ensure secure fertilizer supplies, and to reduce the farmers burden, and to promote rationalization of fertilizer use in order to reduce the impact on farmers. The COA also amended the "Regulations for the Agricultural Natural Disaster Aid", to increase the flexibility for the threshold of natural disaster cash subsidies, such as the aid subsidy for rice to increase by 23 percent, for fruit trees and flowers by 20 percent and for vegetables by up to 45 percent, that revealed adequately the great effort of the government to take good care of farmers and fishermen. As to the issues proposed by local governments, such as the promotion of organic fertilizer, the delimitation of hillside, the review of the construction of the farm ' s housing and village , the integration of domestic competitive agricultural products for promotion abroad, maintaining a balance between supply and demand, and the rectification for drainage of aquaculture zone, for which are common problems or individual demands, the COA mostly gave positive responses, otherwise, included in the conference records to further study by the concerned authorities for solution.
As this symposium worked quite well , many agricultural chiefs of local governments suggested that the COA would hold such a symposium for the chief agricultural administrators regularly. Minister Chen expressed, while the COA steers agricultural plans of the agriculture implementation it should listen to the voices of farmers and grassroots organizations so that agricultural policy can combine with local demands and consensus be reached from multiple advices. In the future, the " N ational Chief A gricultural Administrators Symposium " will be held periodically every four months, choosing important issues to discuss and exchange views with the agricultural chiefs of local governments to build the consensus in order to promote the comprehensive agricultural policy and lead Taiwan ’s agriculture to reach a new milestone.