Thu, Jul 19, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Environmental system offered to Chiayi farmers

GREEN Chen Hung-chi, the acting director of the county's Bureau of Agriculture, said that the development of biomass energy is very important

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Chiayi County is establishing a production and marketing system to help local farmers to grow energy crops during the fallow season as part of government efforts to boost the nation's "green industry" output, the acting director of the county's Bureau of Agriculture said yesterday.

Chen Hung-chi (陳宏基) said the government attaches great importance to the development of biomass energy, while other countries have also been making efforts to seek new energy sources since oil prices began to surge a few years ago.

One of the reliable energy sources that has been found to substitute for fossil fuel is biomass energy, also called bioenergy -- which is energy sourced from plants and plant-derived materials, the official said.

Chen said the Council of Agriculture (COA) began planting sunflowers, soybeans and canola on 2,000 hectares in the southern counties of Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan during the fallow seasons last year on a trial basis.

The planting was part of the COA's plan to develop and produce "environmentally friendly" biodiesel, he added.

Last year, four Chiayi townships joined the bioenergy development program, with the number increasing to five this year, Chen said.

The county government said that there are over 10,000 hectares of farmland left uncultivated in Chiayi every year.

Owners of the land are encouraged to grow energy crops as a strategy that will help not only generate income but also boost the added value of their farms.

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