Tue, May 26, 2015 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Reinvigorating agriculture

A recent article written by David Crouch (“Finland: Not as bad as Greece, but it’s only matter of time,” April 20, page 9) actually shed light on Taiwan’s future.

Finland’s economy relies greatly on the information technology industry, which helped Finland create the “Oulu miracle” and the Nordic model. However, with the collapse of Nokia, and Microsoft’s shifting information technology jobs abroad, unemployment in Finland has climbed to more than 17 percent. This trend provides an imperative for Finland to channel its information technology talents to other industries or to set up new businesses.

Likewise, the industry helped Taiwan to create an economic miracle dubbed a “tiger economy.” However, the peaks and troughs in the information technology life cycle also make Taiwan vulnerable. A lesson learned from Finland is that Taiwan cannot keep on relying exclusively on the industry. It is important to unleash part of those talents to other industries to dilute the risk. Agriculture certainly is one of the options.

Taiwan’s policymakers used to turn their backs on agriculture because of its labor intensity. However, the weather in Taiwan actually provides a competitive edge for developing agriculture.

Taiwan can also add value to agriculture in several ways. For example, agriculture can integrate with tourism to attract tourists. Farms could also run restaurants touting farm-to-table menus to attract customers. They could also sell souvenirs, such as cakes made from the plants grown at the farms.

In these ways, Taiwan could reinvigorate its agricultural industry by increasing its profitability. It could also provide market incentives to attract younger generations.

Wang Ching-ning

Pingtung

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