The “Flag Presentation Ceremony for the 2019 Young Agricultural Ambassadors” was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 2, 2019. Council of Agriculture (COA) Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien jointly presided over the event, which was also attended by Phubadi La-or-ngern, deputy executive director of the Thailand Trade and Economic Office (Taipei), and Hsiao Chen-jung, chief negotiator of Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations. The 30 outstanding young farmers who were selected as Young Agricultural Ambassadors (YAAs) will visit Thailand in mid August and India in late August to undertake agricultural exchanges, lending new vitality and creativity to Taiwan’s agricultural diplomacy and New Southbound Policy.
In his remarks, Deputy Minister Chen pointed out that over the years the YAAs have built up an image of vitality and professional excellence, earning high praise from countries they visited. The YAAs of last year (2018) were even received by President Tsai Ing-wen after returning home, demonstrating that YAAs have built up an outstanding reputation and have become a powerful link between agricultural areas in Taiwan and in New Southbound partner countries. Over the last two years a total of 60 outstanding YAAs visited Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Not only did they perform remarkably well during the period of exchanges with local farmers in the host countries, they have produced follow-up results: One YAA with student status revisited Vietnam and promoted an agreement between her school and a Taiwanese company in Vietnam to undertake a training program for overseas people of talent. Another YAA promoted linkages and cooperation between the tea, honey, seedling, and aquaponics industries in Taiwan and related industries in New Southbound partner countries. Another YAA, their perspective broadened by participation in this program, discovered opportunities for agricultural innovation in Taiwan, pro-actively organized local resources to develop community agricultural industries, and was named to the list of the “Top 100 Young Farmers” in Taiwan. And yet another young farmer, who was only qualified to be an alternate for the YAA program last year, set their mind to improving their farming skills and pro-actively expanded the scale of the tomato industry, earning a spot in this year’s YAAs group. These success stories are inspiring.
This is the third year for the “Young Agricultural Ambassadors— New Southbound Policy Exchange Program,” which has been jointly promoted by the Council of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Overseas visits by this year’s group of YAAs will encourage shared prosperity and sustainable development of regional agriculture in Taiwan and New Southbound partner countries. With Thailand, Taiwan can deepen development of the seeds and seedlings, agricultural materials, and agricultural machinery industries; construct greenhouse vegetable production systems and other demonstration farms; and strengthen technical cooperation in areas like animal health, prevention of harmful organisms, and value-adding and reuse of agricultural waste. As for India, it is anticipated that this upcoming visit will intensify interactions between the two sides. Besides deepening ongoing technical exchanges for the bamboo and mushroom industries, it is hoped that Taiwan can work together with Indian government officials to promote a bilateral agreement on organic equivalence and to expand sales of vegetarian agriproducts. It is also expected that through this visit Taiwan can gain a better understanding of the investment environment and market trends in India, in order to further develop India’s potential market and seek mutually beneficial opportunities for cooperation.