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Thu, Dec 02, 1999 - Page 3 News List

COA chairman Peng Tso-kwei falls at political hurdle

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Peng Tso-kwei, chairman of the Council of Agriculture.


His resignation as chairman of the Council of Agriculture (COA) may be the last-stand in politics for Peng Tso-kwei (彭作奎), after what he called unreasonable moves by the KMT in trying to secure more votes.

Telling reporters yesterday that he was "fed up" with politics, Peng leaves a legacy of relatively idealistic policy-making and a pragmatic approach rare at the highest levels of government.

His background -- both as an academic and a government official -- could well have influenced this approach.

As a student at National Chunghsing University, Peng Tso-kwei was a determined and aggressive player on the sports field.

His 110-meter hurdle record remains unbeaten at Chunghsing University, and he once referred to taking up the post at the COA as an obstacle race, which requires extra strength and patience.

His venture into the political arena from the academic field was something unexpected.

Four days before the Cabinet reshuffle in 1997, Peng was given 40 minutes to make a decision that would change his life.

He decided to take a chance and become COA chairman, although the decision was later not supported by his own family.

Soon after taking up his new post, Peng established three major policy directions for the field of agriculture: production (生2?/CHINESE>), life (生活), and ecology (生態).

He said he believed that agricultural production had to be modernized to be effective, that agricultural trading liberalization was a must, and that farmers' benefits had to be well taken care of in the event of natural disasters.

Peng pushed for building resort-like farm villages, preserving endangered animals, and opposing the over-development of mountainous areas and logging.

Council of Agriculture Chairman Peng Tso-kwei at a glance

* Born: Nov. 8, 1947 Peipu, Hsinchu County

* Education:

BS, Agriculture, specializing in water and soil preservation, National Chungshing University

MS, Agricultural Economy, National Chungshing University

Ph.D, Agricultural Economy, Illinois State University

* Experience:

Dean, Graduate School of Agricultural Economy, National Chungshing University

Dean, Agriculture College, National Chungshing University

Chairman, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan

He also suggested taking better care of older farmers, since they had contributed so much to the development of agriculture, and to respect younger farmers in order to encourage more young people to join the farming business, which has seen a rapid decline in recent years.

He also proposed adopting compensation measures to take care of farmers' losses if their rights were violated.

Peng had proposed that agricultural policy should pay attention not only to producers, but also to consumers. Peng had made it a goal to ensure that the government provided consumers with safe, quality, diverse, and hygienic agricultural products.

As for the management of farmland, Peng had proposed liberalizing the agricultural land market, to allow non-farmers to buy farm land to help the development of the industrial sector.

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