The Council of Agriculture indicated that President Ma, Ying-jeou, accompanied by COA Minister Chen, Bao-ji, had visited Ren-cheng Organic Farm in Ji'an Township, Hualien County to inspect the development of organic agriculture in the eastern part of Taiwan and to listen to farmers' opinions. The president instructed the COA to thoroughly follow the objectives of "Golden Decade - LOHAS Agriculture" policy and give full support to the development of organic farming in Hualien-Taitung region while integrating production, lifestyle, and ecology together. Moreover, organic agriculture should be expanded to more consumers and extend its value chain. It can be integrated into food and agricultural education along with the catering service system in campuses. The authorities must work harder to provide good organic products for students' nutritious lunch meal so as to create a healthy younger generation, while transforming Taiwan into a vigorous, sustainable, and healthy island.
The president listened attentively to farmers' comments and gave full support to Hualien-Taitung region for developing organic farming and agricultural education in campus
President Ma visited the ecological pool's water filtration system and organic vegetable cultivation area in Ren-cheng farm, which features an ecological pool to ensure the quality of its water, and LED lighting in green and net houses to stabilize organic products production. He also praised the farm's devotion to organic cultivation that integrates methods of environmental protection and ecological balance. The COA then briefed the president on organic agriculture policy and counseling as well as an introduction of farm management. President Ma also took in suggestion and comments from farmers and assured that the government would spare no efforts to promote organic farming in Hualien-Taitung region.
President Ma also expressed that agricultural product's safety has always been everyone's vital concern in Taiwan. Healthy and safety are what most people look for in agricultural products when purchasing them. Therefore, it has become the government's core objective to look after its people's health as the purpose of Taiwan's agricultural development. Organic agriculture respects the ecology by rejecting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It yields safe and healthy quality produce with emphasis on "health" and "sustainability", which also integrates three classic sectors: production, life, and ecology. It meets people's demand for safety food and LOHAS lifestyle, which is a modernized new agricultural model being developed all over the world.
Organic agriculture is incorporated into the Golden Decade National Development policy to progressively turn Taiwan into a healthy organic island
The COA pointed out that in recent years the government has been promoting organic agriculture actively by offering incentives, subsidies, educational trainings, technical services and other guidance measures to assist farmers to transform into organic producers. Certified organic farmland acreage has increased from 2,356 hectares in 2008 to 5,930 hectares in November, 2013 with a growth rate of 1.5 times. In the mean time, 14 designated organic agriculture areas, 12 organic villages, 17 organic farmer markets, 120 organic product counters and 140 organic E-stores are set up to form the supply chain for 280 secondary and primary schools totaling 346,000 students in New Taipei City. Once a week, they are able to eat organic vegetables which will gradually create diverse retailing channels of the organic products.
The COA further indicated that organic agriculture had been adopted into the Golden Decade National Development policy. Future implementations include: intensify counseling efforts for farmland transformation and encourage more civilian sectors to begin organic production, expand the organic food supply chain, assist remote regions or aboriginal villages to make the most of their natural geographic advantages in developing organic farming, promote organic food and agricultural education, cooperate with academic and research institutions in setting up organic courses (curriculum), train technical manpower, and subsidize the procurement of production equipments in order to encourage more young people to join organic agriculture business. All the aforementioned objectives will be promoted and implemented in 2014. Moreover, a target increase of organic farming acreage to 15,000 hectares is set to be reached by 2020, gradually transforming Taiwan into a healthy, sustainable and LOHAS island.