In addition, several associations have been established to promote the industry, such as the confederation of allotment holders in Germany. Education institutions have been set up to cultivate the talent required to develop these industries and the high salaries on offer have started to attract talent from overseas.
Innovative farming does exist in Taiwan. The country already has, for example, a number of leisure farms, wineries and tourist orchards, pomelo and tea products, as well as cosmetic products such as loofah dew. However, these represent a very small percentage of the overall value of agriculture in this country and it still hasn’t got to the point where it benefits from economies of scale.
Innovative farming in Taiwan still suffers from several problems, including a small production scale; limited output; a lack of defining products that will enable the establishment of a brand; lack of standardization and consistency; the lack of standard quality and safety accreditation for agricultural products; insufficient investment for research and development; limited channels for the cultivation of talent; and few incentives and little support from the government. If the government really wants to help farmers, it should bring together civic groups and academics to plan how best to develop innovative farming. This is the only way it can inject new energy into agriculture in this country.
Du Yu is a member of the Chen-Li task force for Agricultural Reform.
TRANSLATED BY PAUL COOPER