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Main Agricultural Policy Aims for 2012

Major policy aims of the Council of Agriculture (COA) in 2012 were to :

■ Promote healthy, efficient, sustainable agriculture for the whole people; ensure the stability of the food supply; create an environment conducive to high-quality agricultural operations; promote energy-saving and low-carbon methods for farming, fishing, animal husbandry, and forestry, and promote other adjustment measures for dealing with climate change; create an agricultural sector with extremely high competitiveness based on a strategy of “new markets, new farmers, new rural communities.”

■ Build a food-security and risk-management mechanism, raise food self-sufficiency, promote “local production, local consumption,” and encourage Taiwanese consumers to buy more domestically produced agro-products; promote the “Small Landlords, Big Tenant Farmers” program, revitalize the use of fallow cropland, adjust the rural industrial structure, and construct a high-quality and stable production-and-marketing chain; promote a high-efficiency, high-value production system for livestock and poultry; continue to implement the pet regulatory system and strengthen our work in animal protection.

■ Develop brand image for healthy and high-quality agricultural products; continue to improve the organization and structure of the “seamless management system” for agro-product safety; promote a testing and certification system for agro-products that is compatible with international food safety norms; continue work on the crop grouping and extension of agro-chemical authorization practice methods on minor crops; strengthen controls over agro-chemicals and veterinary pharmaceuticals and ensure that they are used safely; protect the rights and interests of consumers.

■ Bring together new technologies and resources for the most appropriate applications, in order to develop “core premier industries”; conduct R&D to produce innovative plant varieties and techniques that will improve resistance to adverse changes in the environment; promote new management methods that will save energy, reduce water use, and reduce carbon emissions; promote the widespread application of agro-technology, improve the speed at which R&D results can be industrialized, improve services at agricultural innovation and incubation centers, and upgrade management capabilities and R&D capabilities in private sector agro-enterprises.

■ Deepen systematic research into agricultural conditions, policies, and systems; raise the quality of policy planning and oversight of policy implementation; and improve our capabilities to provide critical information and expertise during the processes of making and implementing policy.

■ Actively participate in bilateral and multilateral international trade negotiations to protect the rights and interests of Taiwanese agriculture; construct international marketing channels for Taiwanese agro-products, and shape brand image for high- quality agro-products; open up new markets and profit opportunities and deploy resources toward marketing of agro-products on a global level; strengthen cross-strait agricultural exchanges and agro-trade management while pro-actively working to make inroads into the mainland China market.

■ Promote revitalization of coastal areas and diversify the functions of fishing harbors, with the aim of creating a modernized fishing industry that includes a tourism-and-leisure component; continue to participate in international fisheries organizations and promote fisheries cooperation, in order to protect the operational rights and interests of our fishing fleets; promote responsible fishing, fully implement conservation and management of coastal fisheries resources, and ensure that the fishing industry develops in a sustainable manner.

■ Construct a national common-use platform for information related to agricultural finance; raise the quality of service at, and the competitiveness of, farmers’ and fishermen’s associations; strengthen oversight and guidance of credit departments of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations and strengthen professional management of the Agricultural Bank of Taiwan (ABT); continue to process policy-oriented special agricultural loans; improve the operating efficiency of farmers and fishermen.

■ Construct a comprehensive agricultural training system; continue to promote the recruitment of new and more professional farmers through the Farmers Academy and raise the quality of the next generation of human resources for the rural sector; promote rejuvenation of rural communities, and inspire people to take a more active interest in autonomous, locally run community development; implement the development of localized industries and support cultural traditions in rural communities; build rural communities with high quality of life.

■ Strengthen the functions and management capabilities of farmers’ organizations as well as their ability to adapt and innovate, guide the development of diversified enterprises within these organizations, and upgrade their competitiveness and service functions; operate programs for relief and financial assistance in the wake of natural disasters, welfare benefits (pensions) for elderly farmers, farmers health insurance, and scholarships for the children of farmers and fishermen; upgrade the well-being of all rural residents.

■ Upgrade the effectiveness of inspection and quarantine of plants and animals for both import and export; improve the management of plant and animal health and safety; continue to implement measures to prevent animal and plant diseases and pests, and develop key technologies for integrated pest control; coordinate health and sanitation measures at animal husbandry farms and improve and refine the veterinary services system; undertake livestock and poultry slaughterhouse health inspections and promote quality improvement in slaughterhouses.

■ Protect high-quality agricultural land, strengthen land management mechanisms, maintain a high-quality environment for agricultural operations, and promote sustainable use of land resources; promote multi-functional irrigation projects, maintain the quality of irrigation water, make sure rural water resources are used efficiently and effectively, and ensure that the water transport network is capable of fulfilling additional production, quality-of-life, and ecological functions, as well as preventing or reducing the impact of natural disasters.

■ Identify core features of the traditional cultures of farm and fishing communities and bring these together with local community resources to develop diversified niche products (such as unique or highly-reputed local agricultural products, sophisticated souvenir and gift products, etc); construct a high-quality environment for the rural tourism and leisure industry, promote eco-tourism, and attract more foreign visitors to Taiwan’s agro-tourism and leisure sites.

■ Promote comprehensive management of slopeland, further improve capabilities to prevent or minimize the impact of natural disasters such as landslides and floods, ensure the conservation of mountain forests, and prudently manage water resources; continue community voluntary disaster prevention systems and enhance debris flow monitoring systems and early warning systems, in order to protest villages located on slopeland from natural disasters.

■ Promote afforestation, improve management and protection of forest areas, and ensure sustainable management of forests; protect endemic and wild species, block and eradicate invasive species, and preserve biodiversity; strengthen the management and protection of national parks, conservation areas, wetlands, and rural cultural assets.