Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday concluded his second trip to southern Taiwan in as many months with a visit to a disabled girl he adopted 15 years ago.
Lee, 89, visited the Sacred Heart-Francis Home, which is now known as the Mindao Home, located in Puzih City (朴子), Chiayi County, yesterday afternoon.
The visit concluded his three-day trip to southern Taiwan, the main purpose of which was to observe agricultural development.
Lee adopted a girl surnamed Huang on June 13, 1997, in his first visit to the institution, founded by the late Father Francis Burkhardt of Switzerland in 1990. Lee addressed the issue of the accommodation and education of disabled adults while president.
Lee donated NT$200,000 to the institution yesterday and called on people to pay more attention to those in need.
However, the development of local agriculture was still Lee’s main focus on his trip into the heartland of Taiwan’s main agricultural areas of Chiayi County and Greater Tainan.
Lee visited a black fungus farm in Jhongpu Township (中埔) and a tea farm in Fanlu Township (番路) in the Alishan area, following travel stops at an orchid farm, the home of a rice farmer and Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) during the first two days of the trip.
In Fanlu, Lee said that although Taiwan has long been known as a tea-exporting country, it was not until they became richer that Taiwanese were able to develop a tea-drinking culture, because of the exploitation of farmers during the colonial era.
The same thing was happening to Taiwanese farmers nowadays, he said, as they were being exploited by middlemen and could not reap the benefits of their hard work.
The former president argued that the prospects for agricultural development in Taiwan were still good because of the high quality of products and expertise of local farmers.
“All it takes is a little help from the government in terms of appropriate marketing and distribution channels to reduce the need for middlemen,” he said.
With assistance and appropriate planning from the government, Lee said, Taiwan would not need to sacrifice its agricultural sector or allocate large agricultural subsidies when it signs free trade agreements with other countries.