The Council of Agriculture (COA) said it plans to lift the requirement that farmers should possess a minimum area of farmland to be eligible for farmers’ insurance, after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers criticized the eligibility criterion.
According to the Farmer Health Insurance Act (農民健康保險條例), farmers have to own at least 0.1 hectares of farmland or rent at least 0.2 hectares of farmland to be eligible for insurance, DPP Legislator Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧) told a news conference yesterday.
Due to a now-defunct agricultural law that strictly limited farm owners from terminating or modifying contracts with tenant farmers, senior owners tend to rent out their properties with verbal agreements rather than written ones, resulting in the exclusion of many young farmers from insurance coverage and benefits such as subsidies, low-interest loans and disaster relief, Tsai said.
Yilan County farmer Wu Chia-ling (吳佳玲) said it costs between NT$2 million and NT$3 million (US$66,689 and US$100,033) to purchase 0.1 hectares of farmland in the county, a financial burden that young farmers cannot easily shoulder, and called on the government to determine insurance eligibility with criteria other than property ownership or tenancy.
“The aging of the agricultural workforce is a pressing issue for the government, but if it prioritizes the task of cracking down on ‘fake farmers,’ the needs of real farmers would be neglected,” DPP Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said.
“The council has to improve the farmers’ health insurance and include farmers in social security systems to attract more young people into farming,” Chuang said.
The average age of farmers in the nation is 62 and 62.3 percent of students of agricultural colleges consider pursuing farming as an occupation, according to a media survey in May, so the government has to ensure sustainable working conditions for them, DPP Legislator Ho Hsin-chun (何欣純) said.
Lawmakers asked the council to lift the restrictions within the act and include tenant farmers in the insurance scheme within six months.
Council Department of Farmers’ Services Director Chu Chien-wei (朱建偉) said the council plans to disassociate farmland ownership and tenancy from insurance eligibility.
The council has resolved the decades-old issue of the insurance eligibility of bee farmers, who often move from one place to another to harvest honey, and the council approved their insurance applications based on their beekeeping practice instead of farm ownership, Chu said.
The council would propose measures within a few months to include young farmers in the health insurance scheme, he said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
SOUTH WINDS: Taiwan’s southeastern region, as well as central and southern regions, would see regional showers and thundershowers, the Central Weather Bureau said Heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the afternoon in the next two days might cause damage in affected areas, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, urging people to stay vigilant. With the weakening of a Pacific high-pressure system and with a frontal system in the north moving south, the nation would come under the influence of southwest and south winds today, the bureau said. People in the nation’s southeastern region, as well as in central and southern Taiwan, are likely to experience regional showers or thundershowers, it said. Chances of afternoon thundershowers are high nationwide, and people in some regions