Wed, May 31, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Shihgang Silo now providing jobs for Taichung women

By Ou Su-mei and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Having been closed for one year, Taichung’s Shihgang Silo has reopened under a project to provide jobs for local women, the Taichung City Association for the Development of Leisure Agricultural Activities said.

Built in 1941 by Japan to help alleviate strained food supplies in its wartime efforts in the Pacific theater, the silo was made a historical heritage site after it survived the Sept. 21, 1999 earthquake, the association said, adding that after some remodeling the silo was opened as a tourist attraction in 2005.

The silo is home to a three-story rice grinder, the Shihgang Community Culture Development Association said, adding that despite being built in the mid-20th century, its structure is highly resilient to earthquakes.

Since 2005, management of the building has been outsourced to the Shihgang Community Culture Development Association.

As it was a project commissioned by the Shihgang District (石岡) Farmers’ Association, water and electricity fees were subsidized by the Shihgang District Office.

However, the culture development association complained that since the merger of former Taichung county and city into a special municipality in 2010, the local government stopped paying the site’s electricity and water fees.

The culture development association claimed that it was losing NT$300,000 per year without the electricity and water subsidies, adding that last year it shut down operations at the silo in protest.

The Taichung City Association for the Development of Leisure Agricultural Activities felt that the silo’s closing was a great waste of potential and it tendered an application to the Ministry of Labor to reopen the site as a project that aims to provide jobs for local women.

The project produces various foodstuffs for sale at the silo, some of which use locally produced tangerines to make tea or jam, the association said.

Chen Chia-li (陳佳利), 51, who lost her job after a car accident last year left her unable to carry heavy items, is a beneficiary of the project.

She said that she appreciates the opportunity to work as a tour guide at the facility.

Another woman who lives in Dongshih Township (東勢), Yeh Hsiu-chen (葉秀真), said the project provided her with a chance to learn more about agriculture, now that she is no longer a full-time housewife as her children have grown up.

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