Thu, Nov 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Agricultural group hosts exhibition starting tomorrow

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Provincial Farmers' Association will host a four-day display of local speciality produce and farm-based tourist attractions starting tomorrow at the World Trade Center in Taipei.

Twenty vendors will participate in the event, which includes free tasting and DIY activities.

At the pre-show press conference yesterday, exhibitors from all over Taiwan including representatives from the farming, ranching, forestry and fishing sectors promoted their products and holiday packages.

One of the exhibitors will feature Ilan's Pei Kuan Farm, which used to grow oranges until they took the plunge into agri-tourism 13 years ago.

"We're glad we made the transition," said Pei Kuan's Li Kuan-hsing (李冠興), adding that the price farmers can get for oranges have fallen to NT$2 per kilogram in recent days.

Now the farm and crab museum receives more than ten thousand visitors a year, he said.

"We did not know that 15 percent of the world's crab species can be found in Ilan until we asked a foreigner we saw collecting them. That's where we got the idea for the crab museum," he said.

Taiwan's agri-tourism and eco-tourism sector is booming, according to Hu Fu-hsiung (胡富雄), deputy minister of the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Hu said that in the wake of Taiwan's entry into the WTO, the way forward for many farms lies in the leisure industry and that the government is willing to lend a hand along the way.

"We do more than eat bananas at the COA," Hu quipped."We spend NT $2.5 billion a year promoting the growth of tourism in agriculture and forestry."

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