Compounded by divisions of arable land upon succession, local farms on the small, densely populated island average a mere 0.5-hectare in size. This explains why most farms engage in intense farming to boost land use efficiency. Livestock farming requires high intensity of labor, capital and technology, and thus is the most effective user of agriculture land, and will remain one of the major agri-businesses in the Taiwanese farming villages.
However, Taiwan's joining the WTO is expected to bring a massive impact on domestic livestock industry. Due to recent measures on boosting industrial competitiveness, reducing production cost and readjusting the industrial structure, the industry has completely modernized with its focus shifted from production in the past to quality, hygiene, safety, and product specification and branding of today. After ten years of industrial transition, livestock products have successfully entered foreign markets. It is also envisaged that the three-year tariff quota (TRQ) provided for pork and chicken products will force the industries to speed up the process of restructuring through integrated operations or strategic alliances. The transformed industry will help farmers to appreciate more the concept of industrial autonomy and to sustain their business through sharing of operation, responsibility and benefit.
To survive and thrive in the cutthroat competition of the global market, it is imperative that domestic livestock products win the confidence of local consumers. In addition to ensuring low price, farmers should strive to reduce cost, assure product quality and create a brand image that guarantees health and safety. One of the greatest advantages of domestic livestock products has always been its freshness, which is not easily achieved by foreign imports. To benefit further from this advantage, however, a comprehensive distribution system that ensures fast and cheap delivery is requisite. In short, to appeal to local consumers and to become internationally competitive, domestic livestock products have to stay cheap, be in good quality and fresh.