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COA commends 2009 Shennong Award winners


The Council of Agriculture (COA) has granted the 2009 Shennong Awards to 10 winners and has commended another 12 outstanding farmers in recognition of their contributions to the country’s agricultural development.

COA Minister Chen Wu-hsiung presented the award certificates to the winners, each of whom also received a cash prize of NT$200,000.

The 10 award winners are Tang Chia-feng, Fan Hsiou-lung, Wu Wen-yuan, Yeh Shu-pen, Wang Yi-feng, Lee Wei-yu, Huang Chin-wen, Hsu Chih-hsiung, Lai Chao-hsuan and Liao Kun-lang.

The annual awards, named after a Chinese farming deity, are dedicated to excellence among Taiwanese farmers.

Dr. Chen said the award is regarded as a most remarkable honor for farmers and noted that 879 farmers have won the award since it was established in 1983.
This year’s winners were selected from among 22 finalists after a grueling competition from township to county level.

COA Vice Minister Hu Hsing-hua presented certificates to the 12 runners-up, each of whom also received prize money of NT$20,000.

The winners’ achievements show the unlimited potential of Taiwan’s agriculture, said Chen, who added that their efforts met with the government’s agricultural policies that emphasize the importance of health, efficiency and sustainable agricultural development that can be a role model for the rest of the country’s farmers.

Two of the winners -- Fan Hsiou-lung and Wu Wen-yuan -- were commended for pursuing sustainable ecological management, establishing a healthy production environment and creating higher added value for their products.

Tang Chia-feng, Wang Yi-feng, Hsu Chih-hsiung and Liao Kun-lang, meanwhile, were awarded for their efforts in the pursuit of production efficiency and performance in developing multidimensional management and marketing channels. The other four winners – Yeh Shu-pen, Lee Wei-yu, Huang Chin-wen and Lai Chao-hsuan -- were awarded for their promotion of organic agriculture and safety, quality and environmental friendliness of their products.

The award ceremony was attended by more than 200 people, including award winners, their families, and related staff members and agricultural experts from around the country.

Dr. Chen said in a speech at the ceremony that signing agreements -- Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China – will contribute to Taiwan’s agricultural products export and also increase the country’s competitiveness in the international market.

He added that the government’s determination to protect farmers’ benefits has never changed and said concerns that close economic cooperation with China will have a negative impact on domestic industry and employment have proved to be a fallacy.

He said that the council will follow President Ma Ying-jeou’s directives and maintain its restrictions on imports of 830 Chinese agricultural products, as well as setting up a mechanism under the ECFA for negotiations with China on issues related to cross-Taiwan Strait products standard and inspections scheme and agricultural intellectual property rights and trademark protection, with the aim of paving the way for better performance of Taiwan’s agricultural exports.