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Thu, Jan 06, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Ex-COA chief slams new law governing farmland

STAFF WRITER

Peng Tso-kwei (彭作奎), former Chairman of the Council of Agriculture, released a statement yesterday, predicting what he sees as a grim future for Taiwan's agricultural industry.

Peng's statement followed Tuesday's passage of the Agricultural Development Act, which will allow construction on newly-purchased farmland by individual farmers. Peng resigned as council chairman last month after a dispute with the Legislative Yuan over the new law.

Peng's version would only have allowed collective-style construction on farm land.

In his statement, Peng lashed out at the government for succumbing to public opinion rather than creating a long-term, sustainable policy. He said the new amendments to the Act will generate an uncontrollable number of "dummy farmers" acting on behalf of conglomerates and construction companies.

The resulting chaotic construction will lay waste to much of Taiwan's farmland and pollute agricultural produce, Peng said.

The policy will take an insufferable toll on Taiwan's agriculture and environment in the long run, he added.

Meanwhile, Lin Hsiang-nung (林享能), Peng's successor at the agricultural council, promised "strict management" of farmland.

Lin also said the council will finalize bylaws for the act within one year.

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