The plight of Pingtung onion farmers 恆春洋蔥農夫面臨歉收困境

Sat, Mar 02, 2013 - Page 11

Onions in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Peninsula are due for harvest, but there is much news about disease affecting a significant portion of onion farms in the area. After conducting a survey of the situation on Feb. 25, the county government’s Agriculture Department and Hengchun Township’s Farmers Association found that some of the pestilence is due to failure to properly care for the farms during the Spring Festival. Belated planting last year was also a contributing factor. The agencies are asking farmers not to chance it by testing their luck against nature.

The approximately 250 hectares of farmland devoted to onion cultivation in Hengchun this year is approaching harvest time, but crop failure is expected to affect nearly 40 hectares. After the local farmers association notified the Agriculture Department, personnel from the Pingtung Agricultural Research and Extension Station and the Agriculture and Food Agency came together on the morning of Feb. 25 to conduct an investigation. Their preliminary findings have determined that as the crop failure was not caused by a natural disaster, the government would be unlikely to give any assistance.

Farmers say that the impact of heavy rains during winter the year before last caused many farmers to have to replant their crop twice, incurring exorbitant costs that caused many to suffer loss the following year. Crops were planted slightly later than usual last year, so the onions failed to grow big because hot weather arrived earlier than expected.

The department’s investigation found that some farmers neglected their farms during the Lunar New Year and that the relatively hot and humid weather had caused disease among the crops. Some, however, were simply planted too late last year, which exposed the onions to excessively high temperatures during the growing process, reaching temperatures exceeding 25C° and causing the onions to stop growing. They are urgning farmers to plant onions at the usual time and pay close attention to weather changes.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

屏東縣恆春半島洋蔥即將進入採收期,最近卻傳出不少蔥田出現病害,或是生長情況不佳的情況,縣府農業處及恆春鎮農會等單位二月二十五日實際勘查,發現部分是春節期間管理不當造成病害,部分因去年栽種時間太晚所致,呼籲農民種植農作勿心存僥倖與老天爺拚運氣。

恆春地區今年度種植洋蔥面積約兩百五十公頃,即將進入大採收期,卻有將近四十公頃的洋蔥田,傳出可能歉收的情況。農業處接獲地區農會反映後,二月二十五日早上會同農改場及農糧署人員前往勘查,初步判定非天然災害,恐難以獲得相關補助。

農民表示,前年受到冬季大雨影響,不少農民都重複種植兩次蔥苗,龐大成本造成隔年幾乎賠錢,去年索性延後種植,沒想到又遇上天氣提早炎熱,洋蔥因此長不大。

農業處調查發現,部分農民在春節假期疏於照顧蔥田,濕熱天氣造成洋蔥產生病害,部分則是去年太晚種植,造成洋蔥生長期遇上今年春季氣溫偏高,氣溫二十五度以上造成洋蔥停止生長,呼籲農民應依正常時間種植,並注意氣候變化詳加照料。

(自由時報記者蔡宗憲)