Furthermore, China’s agricultural product logistics is beset by many problems. For example, its basic transport and communication infrastructure is weak; most farming is done by small-scale individual household producers; it has insufficient equipment for transport, storage, and loading and unloading of agricultural products; the planning and distribution of farm product markets are irrational; and agricultural technology is not widely applied. All this makes it hard for Taiwan’s farming sector to link up with China’s and free trade will pose even tougher challenges.
Officials and academics often seriously underestimate the value of agriculture simply because it accounts for less than 2 percent of GDP.
In theory, free trade gives every country equal opportunities and rights to pursue its best interests, but the reality is rather different. Large economies manipulate free-trade negotiations to force others to accept their products. In view of this reality, agriculture should not be made entirely dependent on market forces.
There are many challenges ahead for Taiwan. Are we ready to face them?
Du Yu is chief executive officer of the Chen-Li Task Force for Agricultural Reform.
Translated by Eddy Chang