Sun, Apr 22, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Arable land rent needs to be raised Arable land rent needs to be raised

By Daniel Lee 李基勝

It is clear that lowering the rent for arable land more than 60 years ago has made a great contribution to Taiwan’s agricultural economy, but the serious sacrifice of landlords’ rights cannot be ignored.

Although the 37.5 Percent Arable Rent Reduction Act (耕地三七五減租條例) stipulates that the rent “shall not exceed 37.5 percent of the total annual harvest of the principal product of its main crops,” the basis for its calculation is the average harvest in 1947 and 1948, not the annual harvest during the lease period.

Over the years, the production of rice and sweet potatoes has increased by 200 percent, while that of peanuts has increased by 300 percent and that of corn has grown at least one-and-a-half times.

Therefore, the Agricultural Development Act (農業發展條例) stipulates that land leases established after 2000 are no longer subject to the 37.5 Percent Arable Rent Reduction Act and the two parties may reach a rent agreement under their free will.

Why can we not adjust the rent of existing 37.5 percent arable land leases according to the lands’ current agricultural output?

In the past, the social assistance system was not sound; the government limited arable land rents to relieve tenants who were socially and economically disadvantaged. Whether that is till appropriate should be subject to review.

Today, if those tenants protected by the rent reduction act still need economic support, they should rely on social assistance from the government instead of their landlords.

Therefore, if the government cannot repeal the law, it should act promptly to amend it and allow landlords to raise their rent.

Daniel Lee is an assistant researcher in the Legislative Yuan’s Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

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