Greater Kaohsiung offers organic farming courses

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 - Page 3

While organic agricultural farms certified by the Council of Agriculture account for only about 5,281 hectares, Greater Kaohsiung’s Agricultural Research and Extension Station said it was starting training courses to instruct organic farmers on further expanding their scope.

As of the end of last month, there were 13 agricultural product certification facilities authorized by the council. Of those, 12 are for granting organic certifications, station director Huang Shyan-Liang (黃賢良) said, adding that 2,514 farmer households have received certification for organic farming.

Among the certified organic agricultural products, the majority of them are vegetables, followed by rice, he said.

The total size of organic farms has already reached three times the original goal set in 2009, showing that the efforts of agriculture stations have paid off and that environmentally friendly cultivation methods have become an accepted process and global trend, the station said.

Therefore, to assist farmers in learning organic farming techniques to produce high-quality organic products, the station said it had already held a 10-day advanced training course from Oct. 15 through Friday, with 30 participants from across the nation.

Huang said the key point of successful organic farming lies in the recognition and application of organic farming techniques, so the station included a variety of topics in the training courses, ranging from theories to practical techniques, such as the future prospects of organic farming, soil and environment management, microbe-fertilizer application and pest prevention techniques.

The station said it hoped that by offering the training courses, the scope of organic farms in the region could be increased, and consumers could be encouraged to purchase local organic products, which would also help reduce carbon emissions by reducing the resources used in transportation.