7 years has passed since the international traceable agricultural products (TAP) system was introduced to Taiwan by the Council of Agriculture (COA). Farmers, certification establishments, and the Council all took joint efforts to win over the acknowledgement from the market sector. The usage rate of TAP label had a 97% increase from last year, and had exceeded 36.5 million by the end of November 2014. This meant that over 100 thousand TAP were made available daily to the consumers.
Production volume and marketing channels have both increased with outstanding results
The COA explained that by the end of November, 2014, the number of TAP certified companies and products reached 1,407 and 199 respectively, compared with 1,052 and 149 in the previous year. This outcome illustrated that consumers are willing to support the system. Consequently, more farmers are encouraged to join the TAP system and voluntarily accept strict requirements such as Taiwan Good Agricultural Practice (TGAP), product batch management, operation records, and online open data. All the participants must undergo continuous inspection, auditing, and examination by certification establishments and relevant authorities to ensure their compliance with proper procedures and goals set by the regulations.
In order to reach the goal of successfully promoting the TAP system through consumer recognition, the COA has actively launched various PR campaigns targeted at producers, retailers, primary school teachers and students as well as consumers. The authorities hope that with these PR programs set in motion, the consumers can learn about the TAP label and purchase these agricultural products. Furthermore, the Council bridged suppliers and consumers by counseling major retailer chains such as Carrefour, RT Mart, Taisuco, Wellcome, Save & Safe, Lafe Market, Taipei Fish Market, and Shenkeng Farmers' Association, in an effort that led to the establishment of more than 360 designated counters selling TAP items. Moreover, a total of 18 restaurants owned by 8 catering service businesses such as the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi, have all started to incorporate TAP ingredients in their dishes. These premises also provide customers with traceable information about the ingredients in their food, so they may choose to purchase these TAP products in the future and thus give their support to the improvement of Taiwan's agriculture.
15 TAP experts are selected
The vision and enthusiasm of the people that run the agriculture business are the core value of TAP concept. In order to draw consumers closer to the TAP system through individuals and their stories, the COA has organized the "TAP Expert" competition for four consecutive years. This year 58 candidates applied for the event and 15 of them emerged victorious as the TAP experts. Their stories show amazing perseverance and devotion in safeguarding the health of consumers, and all are collected in the promotional pamphlet "2014 TAP Prime Choice".
Food and Agri-food education passed down from generation to generation takes root in daily life
The COA pointed out that the Excellence Teaching Plan for TAP selection last year received positive feedback from teachers all around the country. Therefore, this year the COA wishes to take advantage of that momentum and organize "Little Pioneer excursions for TAP" from October to December by encouraging primary school teachers and students to visit nearby farms and supermarkets as part of the TAP learning experience. This new food and agriculture teaching approach will not only incorporate the proper Agri-food education into daily life but also take root in students' mind. So far there are 932 students from 35 classes, along with their teachers and parents who have signed up to learn and promote the TAP system.
The TAP owes its success to the support from farmers, market dealers, and consumers
The COA stated that 36.5 million TAP labels symbolized the trust between producers and consumers, which linked the dedication of farmers, the support of market dealers, and the acknowledgment of consumers tightly together. The COA will continue to promote the TAP system and lead its certification team to work closely with the agro-business sector in the safeguarding of the system's value and certification quality. The Council also urged consumers to choose wisely and give their support to the TAP system so that they could help Taiwan's agriculture development as well as create a safer environment for consumers.