Coping with Climate Change and Ensuring Food Security
Strategies for Agriculture to Cope with Climate Change
Acting on the basis of the “Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change in Taiwan,” adopted by the Executive Yuan on June 25, 2012, the COA has drafted action plans to cope with challenges to agricultural production and preservation of biodiversity. Agricultural production adjustment strategies include construction of a food security system, upgrading the capability of the agricultural sector to cope with adverse developments, and promoting new operating models for nurturing and management of production resources in the farming, fisheries, and animal husbandry sectors.
Significant policy achievements in 2012 included: (a) completion of surveys of land resources and categorization of land quality in 15 counties and cities; (b) promotion of pipeline irrigation in upland crop agriculture, benefiting 1,939 hectares; (c) construction of 100 manmade fish reefs and habitats, totaling 120,000 cubic meters; (d) promotion of the “Changhua-Yunlin Area Cultivation System and Agricultural Water Resources Management Plan,” including operation of demonstration ponds in seven locations; (e) research and planning for restructuring of the cultivation system and revitalization of use of agricultural land, including incentives to bring fallow land back under cultivation; (f) installation of demonstration facilities at 24 animal husbandry farms for recycling and re-use of wastewater, and well as approval of one pioneer project for re-use of such wastewater in crop irrigation; (g) creation of special production zones for fruit and premium tea, including screening of cultivars suited to local conditions, in order to stabilize production.
Active participation in APEC action plans
In recent years there has been a sharp worldwide increase in the price of food, drawing the attention of all governments to the issue of food security. Aiming to help APEC member economies to strengthen their capacity to deal with climate change and ensure food security, and responding to relevant resolutions adopted by APEC leaders, in April of 2012 Taiwan hosted an “APEC Food Emergency Response Mechanism Working Meeting.” More than 60 delegates from 19 economic entities in the Asia-Pacific region attended to discuss the feasibility of constructing a cross-regional cooperative food security mechanism, with the goal of raising the capability of the Asia-Pacific region to cope with a food crisis.
Taiwan also made an important initiative of its own when, in May of 2012, COA Minister Chen Bao-ji traveled to Kazan, Russia, to attend the 2nd APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security. Given the fact that losses and waste in the food supply chain can reach as high as 50%, public-private cooperation to reduce such losses and waste can make an important contribution to food security. Therefore a multi-year project was initiated at the meeting to encourage public-private cooperation for this purpose, which can enhance regional food security among APEC member economic entities.
R&D related to climate change and food security
The COA also aims to address issues of climate change and food security through in- depth research in related fields, including: (a) food security response mechanisms and related strategies; (b) environmentally friendly operational techniques, technologies, and systems; (c) environmental adjustments and disaster response in areas of agricultural production; (d) low-carbon and low-energy techniques and technologies; (e) new energy sources and their application to agricultural production.
Significant achievements in 2012 included: (i) completion of collection of data on 2000 types of cultivars (including wheat, soybeans, wet-paddy rice, corn, tea plants, azuki beans, potatoes, New Zealand spinach, Pigeon pea, yam, and Eucalyptus), with data on unique or distinguishing characteristics, screening for resistance, evaluation, selection of varieties, data analysis, and preliminary selection; (ii) completion of a survey of the high-altitude wild animal ecology on Mt. Hehuan, including monitoring and measurement of wild animal population numbers; (iii) completion of testing of recording devices for beehive weight and collection of other data on bees; (iv) completion of initial stages of construction of a new operating model for crop rotation of wet-paddy rice and dry-field crops in northern, central, southern, and eastern Taiwan; (v) completion of initial stages of R&D on facilities for low-energy-use aquaculture and crop cultivation; (vi) hosting of the 2012 international conference on trends in rice-based processed food products.