Pandas reject local bamboo
The two pandas from China are turning up their noses at Taiwanese bamboo and have each lost 3kg, a newspaper reported yesterday. Tuan Tuan (團團), the male, weighed 109kg while Yuan Yuan (圓圓), the female, weighed 111.2kg when they were put on the scales at the Taipei Zoo on Friday, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) said. The Taipei Zoo is offering other types of local bamboo to the pair to find out which type they like, the zoo said. The two pandas arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, along with 300kg of Chinese bamboo, or a week’s supply. Now the Chinese bamboo is running out. Besides bamboo leaves, the Taipei Zoo is feeding the pandas bamboo shoots, carrots, apples and steamed buns made with bamboo powder, corn, soybean, sugar, salt and calcium.
Taiwan donates to Kiribati
Taiwan has recently donated 200 tonnes of rice to Kiribati in a bid to help relieve a food shortage in the Pacific nation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday. The rice, which was given to the Kiribati government on Christmas Eve, is intended for distribution to hospitals, clinics and public boarding schools, ministry officials said. The officials quoted Ambassador to Kiribati Chen Shih-liang (陳士良) as saying that the rice had arrived just in time for Christmas and demonstrated the nation’s care and friendship for the people of Kiribati. Taiwanese agricultural missions will continue to promote farming, livestock and aquaculture in Kiribati to help resolve the country’s food shortage, the officials said.
COA to revitalize farmland
The nation’s agricultural authority said it planned to revitalize 60,000 hectares of fallow farmland next year to increase food production. Yu Sheng-feng (游勝鋒), deputy director-general of the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) Agriculture and Food Agency, said the plan to revitalize the fallow land had been submitted to the Cabinet for consideration. Noting that Taiwan has 220,000 hectares of farmland lying idle, Yu said his agency hoped to allow food crops to be grown on 60,000 hectares of that land. The plan would offer subsidies of NT$50,000 (US$1,515) per hectare each year for the owner of the farmland to grow crops — higher than the NT$45,000 for owners not to farm their land.
Taoyuan holds book expo
The seventh Taoyuan National Book Exhibition will open on New Year’s Eve at Taoyuan County Arena for a six-day run, with 38 of the nation’s major publishing companies operating more than 100 stalls. The Taoyuan County Government’s Cultural Affairs Bureau, the organizer of the event, said many exhibitors will hold drawings for NT$3,600 book vouchers and NT$3,600 value packages. The value of NT$3,600 is a play on the central government’s voucher program, in which shopping vouchers worth NT$3,600 will be issued to all citizens starting Jan. 18 in a bid to stimulate the economy. Ten renowned writers and three experts in different fields will be invited to speak on various subjects during the exhibition. The county government will provide free shuttle bus services from the Taoyuan rail station to the exhibition venue. The weekend bus runs begin at 9:30am and the weekday schedule starts at 12:30pm, with service every 20 minutes.