Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Premier wants faster aid payouts

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday instructed Cabinet officials to process subsidies for agricultural losses promptly to help farmers quickly recover from devastating floods brought by torrential rains that started on June 10 as well as Tropical Storm Talim this week.

Government figures showed the disasters had resulted in a loss to the agricultural sector, including agriculture, forestry, fishery and animal husbandry, amounting to NT$744.39 million (US$24.9 million) as of 4pm yesterday.

According to the Council of Agriculture, local governments reported NT$543.45 million in agricultural product losses, with crop damage on 19,687 hectares, with 17 percent of the crops destroyed.

Of these crops, rice was the main crop affected, with 16 percent of the first crop paddy damaged, and losses amounting to NT$160.41 million. It was followed by damage to persimmons, water melons, papayas, fast-growing leafy vegetables and Kyoho grapes, the council said.

Animal husbandry losses stood at NT$12.33 million, with more than 800 pigs and 70,000 chickens in Taoyuan County perishing in the storm, the council said.

The torrential rain also caused oyster farmers in Budai Township (布袋), Chiayi County, to sustain losses of NT$83.86 million, with about 1,625 oyster farms along the coast destroyed, the council said.

In accordance with regulations, the council said it would distribute a cash subsidy to affected farmers growing various types of melon in Taoyuan County.

Subsidies will also be provided to farmers growing vegetables and flowers in Taoyuan County, rice crops in Taitung County and papayas in Greater Kaohsiung who meet eligibility criteria, the council said.

Farmers in Taiyuan County and Chiayi County affected by the disasters will be eligible to apply for a low-interest rate loan, the council said.

The government will also purchase all rice crops spoiled by the floods and storm to help support the farmers’ families, the council said.

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