Government subsidies for hog farmers have helped turn the waste from nearly half the industry into biogas for power generation, resulting in a reduction of nearly 50,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday.
The council has budgeted NT$12.83 billion (US$429.1 million) for the project over four years starting in 2021, with the funds to be spent on establishing cold-chain transportation between slaughterhouses and retail markets.
The funds would also go toward upgrading farming facilities and equipment to raise pigs, the council said.
About 3,600, or 60 percent of Taiwan’s 6,000 pig farms, have photovoltaic cells installed on their roofs, which, together with the solar power generation systems on chicken coops, increases the power generated by the animal husbandry sector to 3 megawatts, the council said.
The council has spent NT$4 billion on helping to refurbish 2,100 pig styes to ensure they are more environmentally friendly and geared toward turning animal waste into biogas, Department of Animal Husbandry Deputy Director Chiang Wen-chuan (江文全) said.
Academics have estimated that the council’s investments have helped reduce 48,039 tonnes of annual carbon emissions, the equivalent of the emissions of 148,451 scooters, Chiang said.
While Europe is the world leader in using animal waste as a source of green energy, Taiwan has made great strides and is the leading nation in Asia regarding such endeavors in the pig farming industry, he said.
Such progress is partly due to a growing acceptance of using green energy and advancements in biogas storage equipment, which have made it more resistant to corrosion and acceptable to hog farmers, Chiang said.
Efforts to make facilities more environmentally friendly are affecting market availability somewhat, as farms undergoing improvements house about 200,000 pigs, he said.
The availability of pork at markets would only be affected this year, Chiang said, adding that this is due to a shortage of constructors, many of which have been contracted to help build expansions for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電).
The pig farming industry should see a significant increase in availability and the number of new-born piglets next year, he said.
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