Less rainfall and a warmer winter have led to a drought in parts of central and southern Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday, as it announced that an emergency task force has been formed and that it would help fruit and tea farmers hurt by the unseasonable weather.
Since November last year, the amount of rainfall in central and southern Taiwan has been drastically less than previous years, with Taichung receiving just 18 percent of its rainfall for the period, while Tainan has received only 2 percent, COA Chief Secretary Chang Chih-sheng (張致盛) told a news conference in Taipei.
Farmers growing pears, plums, peaches, loquats, lychees and tea have been the hardest hit, he said.
About 2,200 hectares of pear production in Miaoli and Taichung and up to 7,800 hectares of lychee production from Taichung southwards have been affected, council data showed.
The drought emergency task force held its first meeting yesterday, Chang said.
As only half of the nation’s agricultural areas have adequate irrigation systems, fruit farmers — especially hillside farms that lack irrigation facilities — are advised to keep certain amounts of weeds in the ground to protect their fields from drying out, the council said.
Pear, plum, peach, loquat, lychee and tea farmers whose crops have been affected could receive relief funds of between NT$50,000 and NT$90,000 per hectare, after their losses are confirmed by the council, Chang said.
Subsidies are available for farmers who want to install efficient irrigation systems, covering 49 percent of the total cost or up to NT$250,000 per hectare, he said.
Water supplies for rice fields are sufficient after the council and the Water Resources Agency secured supply for the seedling-planting period, he said.
WeatherRisk Co weather director Chia Hsin-hsing (賈新興) told the news conference that rainfall is predicted to increase a little in April, but there is no reason to be optimistic about water supplies before the arrival of the plum rain season in three months’ time.
Due to climate change, drier winters and springs might become more common, Chia said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan