Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh warns farmers over fruit exports

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that the nation's farmers might be caught in an unfavorable situation if fruit is rashly exported to China without the government's participation.

"I would say that it is not a bad thing for our fruit to enter China's market. However, the government has to have the dominant role so that our farmers' rights can be protected," Hsieh said yesterday afternoon before attending the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

Hsieh said farmers participating in the coordination project for cross-strait agricultural techniques underway in Fujian Province should be careful not to leak Taiwanese agricultural know-how when they are in contact with Chinese farmers.

"As long as the government plays a dominant role in the fruit exports, our farmers will have a backup if any disputes arise or technique leaks occur in China," Hsieh said.

Meanwhile, during yesterday's committee meeting, Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) reported that for nine straight days a local TV talk show had promoted fruit exports to China and touted the profits to be made.

The show has misled both the public and farmers, he said.

The Cabinet will call on the related departments to meet to discuss how to counter such misleading information, Lee said.

"President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has publicly pointed out several times that fruit exports to China are part of China's unification war and reminded farmers and lawmakers not to fall into China's trap," DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

"Regrettably, some political talk shows are still trying hard to tout the profitability [of such exports] to Taiwan's farmers' associations, giving audiences biased information," he said.

Su said that it is important to get farmers to understand the government's agricultural policies and secure the wholesale status of their produce.

DPP Secretary-General Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) suggested that the Cabinet prepare brochures explaining the government's agricultural policies to send to farmers' associations to inform them of the government's direction.

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