Fri, Jul 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Agricultural fair to promote produce of storm-hit areas

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

To assist farmers in areas damaged by Tropical Storm Mindulle, a special farm products fair will be held this weekend in Taichung City, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.

According to the council, the storm's July 2 flooding resulted in more than NT$8 billion in damage to the agricultural sector. Officials said that the promotion will showcase products from areas including Taichung City, Taichung County, Nantou County and Changhua County.

The event, titled "Hope and Care," will open tomorrow at Hope Square in Taichung City with 109 stalls selling pineapples, grapes, bananas, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, pears and other produce.

Agricultural officials said that the council had worked to coordinate terminal markets and stabilize produce prices. Currently, the amount of frozen vegetables released daily exceeds 350 metric tons, but the council remains concerned about the sales of other agricultural products.

In addition to Agriculture Minister Lee Chin-lung (李金龍), Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Taichung County Commissioner Huang Chung-sheng (黃仲生) will appear at the fair to promote the sales of agricultural products from disaster areas.

Hu said yesterday in Tai-chung that he and Huang had invited representatives of social organizations, temples and businesses to attend the exhibition. In addition, Taichung area residents are also encouraged to purchase the produce.

"We hope to bring farmers as many business opportunities as possible, and to purchase farm commodities exceeding NT$1.5 million in value," Hu said.

These goods will be contributed to organizations engaging in flood-relief work, Hu said. Potential recipient organizations include the army, orphanages and public shelters for senior citizens.

Huang will bring to the fair a quantity of pears from Tung-shih, an area repeatedly dam-aged in natural disasters.

Huang yesterday urged residents in neighboring jurisdictions to visit Taichung City this weekend to not only purchase agricultural products but also express their support for the farmers.

Statistics show that people are supporting charities engaged in flood-relief activities in central Taiwan. According to the Ministry of the Interior, donations as of yesterday totalled NT$202.06 million.

"The money will only be used for flood victims and won't be diverted for public affairs," Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said yesterday.

However, donations to charities since the flooding are significantly less than those made after the devastating 921 Earth-quake in 1999. One day after the quake, the ministry's special charity account received NT$430 million, and in the following three months, NT$5.06 billion was donated. In 2001, the charity account for typhoon disasters received a total of NT$880 million.

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