Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Chen urges upgrade to agriculture to compete on quality

CNA , TAIPEI

Keeping a good crop production profile is critical for upgrading the nation's agriculture, a step that will help differentiate Taiwan's farm products from those of China and Southeast Asian countries, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

Speaking at a training program for executives of farmers' and fishermen's associations, the president urged crop and fish farmers to help the government implement the crop production profile system as quality and safety are increasingly replacing price as key requirements on the market.

Chen said Japan and the EU have already been implementing the crop production profile system, with Japan planning to ban the import of all farm products starting in 2010 whose production processes are not properly profiled.

As Japan is the largest export market for the nation's farm products, the president said Taiwan must prepare well to meet that requirement.

The Council of Agriculture initiated a sample program last year to list 74 agricultural products in the crop production profile system to ensure farm-to-table safety.

Chen said building a system is often an arduous and difficult process, but this is a path that Taiwan must walk as the system has a great bearing on the nation's agricultural future.

He called on the government, producers' associations and farmers to work together in implementing the crop production profile system as a critical step to boost the nation's agricultural competitiveness.

He said he is confident, like this year's "champion rice" grower Lin Lung-hsing (林龍星), in the future development of Taiwan's agriculture.

Lin is an Aboriginal rice farmer in Chihshang (池上) Township, Taitung County, what Chen calls "a minority among the minorities."

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