Sat, Jan 02, 2010 - Page 2 News List

COA to prioritize emissions from agricultural industries

BIG POLLUTER The council plans to reduce the use of fertilizer, plant more trees, retire older fishing vessels and teach farm workers how to increase their efficiency

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Council of Agriculture (COA) will prioritize initiatives that reduce emissions from agricultural activities this year, COA Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) said.

The initiatives include reductions in the amounts of fertilizer used, increased tree plantings, the retirement of older fishing vessels and increasing the efficiency of farms, Chen said on Thursday.

Agriculture is one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide.

The sector is responsible for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Environmental organizations said that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) proposal to reduce 2025 emissions to 2000 levels would have to be comprehensive and include firm reductions in the agricultural industry.

In response to environmental concerns, COA officials said the agency was fully committed to reducing the sector’s environmental impact and outlined a series of measures that they said would allow it to become “more sustainable and workable.”

In order to achieve reductions in fertilizer, the COA said it planned to install more than 300 model farming centers in ­agricultural communities for education regarding more efficient methods of farming.

The agency estimates the methods can save up to 20 percent in the total amount of fertilizers used.

Chen said the COA plans to create more than 4,850 hectares of new forests and monitor a further 49,300 hectares, which is expected to save about 186,000 tonnes of emissions annually.

Representatives from the Fisheries Department said the department was working with operators to voluntarily retire their fishing vessels.

Information from the department showed that 6,776 vessels qualify for subsidies in voluntary retirement, with a further 550 vessels qualifying for government buy-outs.

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