The Council of Agriculture (COA) is working toward establishing a dedicated pension system for farmers by amending the Farmer Health Insurance Act (農民健康保險條例), council Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said yesterday.
Chen was responding to a question by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) on the government’s progress on creating a farmers’ pension system — a policy announced by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in June when she visited Taitung County.
Ordinary workers, civil servants and public school teachers are all covered by a dedicated pension system, but farmers are not, leaving many young people at a loss when considering whether to pursue a farming career, Chiu said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The council would deliver a proposal to amend the Farmer Health Insurance Act by adding a chapter that sets out rules on a farmers’ pension system, which would expedite the legislative effort, Chen said.
The farmers’ pension would be the sum of the Welfare Allowance for Elderly Farmers (老農津貼) and a monthly payout generated by a premium which farmers would be required to pay under the proposed pension system, he said.
The council would submit a draft amendment to the Executive Yuan, which would then review and deliver it to the legislature, he said.
Chiu said that if passed, the farmers’ pension would serve as a great incentive for young people considering going or making a transition to farming.
She asked Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) what insurances farmers would have if the agricultural insurance bill, which the Executive Yuan greenlighted in July, is passed by the legislature.
Su said that if passed, it would serve as the legal basis for farmers to receive compensation for agricultural losses, which would provide their livelihoods shelter from the weather.
The bill has been delivered to the legislature for review, Su said, while Chen added that the council has engaged in extensive communication with the legislative caucuses in the hope that it would soon pass.
In the meantime, farmers’ harvests are covered by insurances on 16 fruits and vegetables stipulated in the Agricultural Development Act (農業發展條例), Chen said.
For example, 23 townships are participants in the insurance on the income of banana farmers in Pingtung — a marked increase from the five townships that had expressed willingness to join the insurance program when it was first introduced, he said.
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