Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Taisugar vows more land for organic farming

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung, back row fifth left, Taiwan Sugar Corp chairman Charles Huang, back row fourth left, give the thumbs-up sign with young farmers at a news conference in Tainan yesterday.

Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

The Council of Agriculture (COA) and Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the state-run company would provide an additional 94.1 hectares of land for young farmers to promote organic farming.

As the nation’s biggest agricultural firm, Taisugar is promoting new agriculture alongside farmers as it seeks to help make agriculture the pride of Taiwan once more within 50 years, chairman Charles Huang (黃育徵) told a news conference at a company farm in Tainan.

The company is to provide the farmland and 16 greenhouses in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Yunlin County for young farmers to rent at discounted rates, he said.

It would promote their produce at its supermarkets or help farmers who plan to start their own brands, he said.

Farmers should be seen as knowledgeable professionals, not an underprivileged class as old stereotypes say, while agricultural products should not be synonymous with low prices, Huang said.

Young farmers have often complained about three shortages — land, money and marketing channels — so the project is to ease demand for farmland, COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said.

Farmland is sold at unreasonably high prices of up to NT$30 million to NT$60 million (US$970,654 to US$1.94 million) per hectare, putting it out of reach of most farmers, Chen said.

With the collaboration, young farmers could rent farmland to grow crops and sell the produce themselves or through Taisugar, he said.

Alternatively, they could work on its farms, Chen said.

Many young people facing unemployment return home to take up farming and they would not want to be out of work again, said Tainan-based peanut grower Hsieh Ping-yin (謝丙寅), who rents farmland from Taisugar.

To stabilize the production and sale of their crops, young farmers should utilize their skills from previous jobs and collate the data, Hsieh said.

The council defines young farmers as those aged 18 to 45.

Taisugar is to select 45 farmers for the project, it said.

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