The Bilateral Meeting between Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on the Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Programs took place in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 2018. The Taiwanese delegation was led by Dr. Chih-Sheng Chang, Director General, Department of the Science and Technology, Council of Agriculture (COA) with members of Dr. Wen-Jane Tu, Director General, Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI); Dr. Jeng-Fang Huang, Director General, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute (TLRI); Dr. Dennis Wang, Director of Tainan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TNDAIS) and supporting staff from Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI). Such a meeting is held annually, according to the Guidelines for Cooperative Program in the Agricultural Sciences between the American Institute in Taiwan and the Coordination Council for North American Affairs signed in January, 1986. Agricultural cooperative programs conducted under the Guideline include cooperative research, technology exchange, seminars, field visits or trainings, and both sides take turns to organize the annual meeting and this year, it is hosted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Highlighted by the opening remarks from Dr. Li-Fang Lin, TECRO Economic Division Deputy Director and Mr. Rick Ruzicka, AIT/Washington Trade and Commercial Programs Director, the meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting USDA Chief Scientist, also Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) and current Administrator of the ARS and Dr. Chih-Sheng Chang, Head of the COA Delegation. During the meeting, the progress of bilateral cooperative programs was reported and new subjects from 2018 to 2020 have confirmed. The participants actively exchanged views and those from ARS experts who in charge national programs were particularly appreciated by our delegates.
ARS is the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency and the largest agricultural research organization in the world with missions to provide technical service, and more importantly, solve problems encountered by the industry such as quality control and assurance of agricultural products including safety. In this year’s meeting, in addition to update the continuing discussions on weedy red rice control, climate change, and porcine epidemic diarrhea, new challenging issues of avian influenza, antimicrobial resistant microorganism, alternatives to antibiotics, Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease, and oriental fruit fly prevention that Taiwan is facing have been raised. Strategies to prevent animal and plant disease and farming adjustment to the corresponding measures have been discussed. Training programs for young scientists have also been addressed in addition to other important technical topics. ARS scientists have emphasized their interests in cooperating with Taiwan in increasing feed efficiency of livestock to develop a more sustainable food animal industry. Approaches include search for effective feed additives to replace the use of antibiotics and adopt biotechnology such as gene editing to promote animal health or productivity have been deliberated, in addition to the precision management of dairy farming that involves application of biotechnology.
The COA stated that agricultural scientific cooperation can accelerate R&D and generate more achievements to benefit industrial development. The meeting is successful and the final agreements that both sides shall collaborate further to investigate important issues of bilateral interests to promote sustainable agriculture with new innovations. Agriculture in Taiwan is transforming for inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods and U.S. approaches can be referred to adjust the agricultural production system in Taiwan to a smart one.