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Tue, Dec 14, 1999 - Page 4 News List

Rezoning plans for industrial use of farmland set

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

One day before the legislature is expected to complete a review of the controversial amendments to the Agriculture Development Act, the Cabinet yesterday announced a new proposal for farmland management.

The Council of Agriculture (COA, 農委會) proposal aims to free 160,000 hectares of farmland for industrial use.

COA Chairman Lin Shiang-nung (林享能) announced the council's new plan during an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, suggesting farmland management should be based on the amount of land available.

Farmland is currently managed by the classification standard of "important farmland," "sub-important farmland" and "preservation area."

According to Lin, there are currently 1.58 million hectares of farmland, including 880,000 hectares of farmland actually used for farming, 510,000 hectares of hillside preservation and forest areas, and 170,000 hectares of unclassified terrain.

COA suggests 160,000 hectares of the 880,000 hectare farmland should be eligible for rezoning from farmland to industrial use.

Lin emphasized that the 160,000 hectare land parcel should be freed up gradually, at the rate of around 4,000 to 6,000 hectares a year.

The proposal stipulates that the land has to be larger than 25 hectares to qualify for a change of land use application.

Also, the change of use has to be related to non-pollutant industries, national major infrastructure construction or the construction of apartment com-plexes.

Lin said that a total of 35,000 hectares of farmland has been released since 1995, and if the new proposal is adopted, a total of 48,000 hectares of farmland is expected to be discharged by the year 2011.

However, Alan Lu (陸雲), an agricultural economics professor at National Taiwan University (國立台灣大學), said he opposes the new proposal.

"The current law has more advantages for the farmers considering the overall development of farming production and farmland preservation," Lu said.

"If farmland is allowed only for farming purposes, agricultural production and preservation can remain intact," he said.

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