President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday visited farmers in Yilan County to discuss the problem of low prices for agricultural products, but was confronted by a group of protesting farmers who called on the government to help them improve their situation.
Standing outside a forum organized by the Council of Agriculture in Yilan, several dozens of farmers protested against the council’s proposed regulations on building farm houses on farm land as they held banners that read “Step down, [Council of Agriculture Minister] Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄)!”
Ma defended Chen’s efforts to explain government policies, and promised not to sacrifice the rights of farmers.
Photo: Chiang Chih-hsiung, Taipei Times
“The government should help farmers increase their income no matter what reformative measures we have. At lease they should not lose money in doing business,” Ma said when visiting rice growers in Yilan County’s Wujie Township (五結).
Chief executive of the Wujie Farmers Association Lee Lin-chin (李林欽) appealed for central government subsidies to help rice farmers build dehumidifying and storage facilities for their crops.
Another rice farmer suggested that the central government subsidize the transportation of rice under a public grain-purchasing program.
In response, Ma said he would convey the farmers’ suggestions to administrative agencies and see how the government could best tackle the issues.
Ma said the price of rice has risen by NT$3 per kilogram this year, and the purchase of rice in Yilan went smoothly.
In response to some farmers’ request that the government further increase the purchase price, however, Ma said the council would study the market price before making any adjustments.
Ma, who is seeking re-election in January, also met with pear growers and green onion growers in Yilan County’s Sanxing Township (三星), the nation’s main green onion producing area, to gain a better understanding of the problems they faced.
In their discussions with Ma, the green onion farmers said that their production costs were much higher than in other areas because of Sanxing’s changeable weather.
The farmers said they often -experience difficult days when prices slump, particularly in June and July.
In response, Ma said: “Your problems are my problems. Let’s solve them together.”
Ma will visit more farmers today in Greater Tainan as part of his efforts to address farming issues.
Amid recent concerns over surplus production of fruit, both Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Ma’s election rival, and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said that the plummeting price of bananas has been an issue for a while and challenged Ma’s ability to solve the problem.
Ma yesterday defended the government efforts to improve the livelihood of farmers by seeking to export fruit to more countries, and said the government would strive to enhance communication with farmers.
Additional reporting by CNA
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up