The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled a bill for a proposed farmers’ pension fund, which, if passed by the Legislative Yuan, could raise farmers’ monthly pension payments to NT$26,000.
The system would be based on the labor pension model, meaning that farmers and the government would allocate an equal amount of money into a dedicated fund every month, Department of Farmers’ Service Director-General Chen Chun-yen (陳俊言) told a news conference in Taipei.
The proposal was born from President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy to better protect farmers and out of discussions at the National Agricultural Conference to improve the financial security of retired farmers, he said.
Under the proposed system, farmers would deposit between NT$238 and NT$1,428, or 1 to 6 percent of the minimum monthly wage, in a dedicated account every month, and the Council of Agriculture would make a matching deposit, he said.
The savings would be eligible for an interest rate no lower than that offered to people with fixed bank deposits of up to two years, guaranteeing their profitability, Chen said.
If passed, farmers’ pensions would consist of a dual-track system, comprised of the subsidy for aged farmers and the proposed farmers’ retirement fund, he said.
Farmers would start receiving the monthly pension when they reach 65 years old, and farmers who join the pension fund when they are 60 years old and deposit NT$1,428 per month would be able to receive a combined monthly pension of NT$8,939, including the subsidy, he said, pointing to trial balances provided by the department.
A farmer who joins the pension fund at age 30 and deposits NT$1,428 per month would be able to receive NT$16,017 in return, and NT$26,349 per month, with the subsidy.
With fewer people receiving the subsidy each year, the council hopes to encourage more young people to pursue a career in farming, to ensure that the nation would maintain a sufficient farming population, Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Chen Tien-shou (陳添壽) said.
The council expects to solicit at least 60,000 of the nation’s estimated 450,000 farmers to join the fund in its first year, he said.
If passed, the system would be implemented on Jan. 1 next year, he said, adding that the council would communicate with lawmakers in the hope that it would be passed during the current legislative session.
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