The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said it would ensure that farmers affected by floods in central and southern Taiwan can receive relief payments by the end of next month, adding that dead fowls and livestock are being cleaned up.
Agricultural losses caused by a tropical depression and heavy rain last week reached NT$632.86 million (US$20.6 million), with Chiayi County recording the heaviest losses of NT$432.02 million, followed by Tainan (NT$125.33 million), Kaohsiung (NT$33.35 million), Yunlin County (NT$32.85 million) and Pingtung County (NT$6.75 million), council data as of 5pm yesterday showed.
The council on Saturday identified the five localities as disaster areas and urged farmers to apply for relief funds and low-interest loans with local governments before Tuesday next week.
The council is to hold two meetings in Chiayi and Tainan today to help farmers understand how to file applications and seek relief, COA Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
The floods’ impact on vegetable supply should be limited, as only 0.1 percent of vegetable farms were affected, he said.
Fish farms posted losses of about NT$316.39 million, with milkfish, tilapia and sea perch farms the worst hit, Chen said.
The husbandry industry lost NT$192.95 million in livestock after floodwaters killed more than 1.5 million chickens, 77,000 ducks, 9,421 pigs and thousands of other farm animals, council data showed.
To prevent a disease outbreak, the council is cleaning up the dead animals and disinfecting flooded areas, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said, expressing his gratitude to military personnel for helping with the cleanup.
The Environmental Protection Administration has also negotiated with incinerator operators to help dispose of dead fowls and provided disinfectants in disaster areas, agency officials said.
Despite the husbandry sector’s heavy losses, pork, chicken and egg supplies are still sufficient, the council said, but added that demand for eggs might rise when school starts next month.
“The notion that humankind can conquer nature should be changed,” as extreme weather phenomena would cause agricultural losses no matter how strong flood-prevention facilities are, Chen said, urging farmers to carefully select farmers’ insurance to reduce their financial burden in case of a natural disaster.
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