The Shihtiping coastal terraces in Hualien County’s Fongbin Township (豐濱) have recently been restored to their former glory, with rice now growing there as it did more than two decades ago.
The restoration project was part of the Forestry Bureau’s Important Paddy Terrace Conservation Plan, which was initiated this year.
Under the project, aging irrigation canals on a 10-hectare area of terraces in Shihtiping (石梯坪) were cleaned and repaired. In May, farmers planted their first rice on the land, which had been their forefathers’ paddies for about 100 years, but were left fallow 20 years ago under a government policy and because of typhoon damage to the irrigation canals.
Kuan Li-hao (管立豪), head of the bureau’s conservation -division, said on Saturday the Shihtiping terrace rice paddies were once the biggest and best in Fongbin.
The area was “the granary” of the Makudaai people — part of the Aboriginal Amis — who have resided there for decades, he said.
“Its wetlands have been an ecological classroom” and a “market of scale” for local residents, Kuan said, noting it was left fallow because of a lack of water.
Now the rice fields have been restored, with the cooperation of Aborigines and the government, he noted.
Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Hu Sing-hwa (胡興華) said the restoration of the Shihtiping paddies was just the beginning of the central government’s efforts to revive the eastern coastal landscape.
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