Fri, Nov 11, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT hopes to woo farmers with touring `tractor team'

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

As part of its election campaign, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday established a "tractor team" which will tour agricultural centers around the country with the promise of improving farmers' lives and building up the agriculture industry.

The "Taiwan Tractor Team," whose members include former Council of Agriculture chairman Lin Hsiang-neng (林享能) and Jan Che (詹澈), a pro-KMT member of the Taiwan Farmers' Alliance, is set to hit the campaign trail today with a mission to explore the issues which concern farmers most.

Jan, the team leader, introduced a white paper on six policies to "save Taiwanese farmers." These include exporting agricultural products to China, striving for decent retirement pensions for farmers, and conducting land reforms to help farmers adapt to WTO rules.

"The [former] KMT government carried out policies such as deducting rent on farms [from taxation] and giving land back to the farmers. Those policies protected farmers from being exploited by landlords," Jan said.

"Now farmers' incomes are shrinking, and the government pensions are insufficient to improve farmers' lives," Jan added.

In addition to the tractor team, the party also unveiled a print-media advertising campaign titled "From Ilha Formosa to Jeju Island," which features allegations of corruption in the Democratic Progressive Party government.

Offering an indirect boost to the KMT campaign, People First Party (PFP) members in the Taipei city council called on their party to persuade PFP candidates struggling with poor approval ratings to drop out of the race.

"The year-end elections are crucial for the pan-blue camp, and we should not lose any seats which we have a significant chance of winning," PFP Councilor Dai Hsi-chin (戴錫欽) said yesterday during the general question session at the Taipei city council.

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