From next year, farmers who use fresh chicken droppings as fertilizer in Taichung’s Lishan (梨山) area are to be fined NT$1,200 to NT$6,000, as the flies it attracts are severely affecting tourism, the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area Administration said on Thursday.
The office has received repeated complaints from tourists about the flies, which are attracted by the droppings, fallen fruit and other uncleared refuse, it said.
At a meeting earlier this week, the office said that it would encourage farmers to bury fallen fruit and would enforce the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), fining those using uncomposted chicken manure.
Photo: Ou Su-mei, Taipei Times
After Lin Yung-fu (林永富), a representative from the city’s Heping District (和平), and Lishan Borough Warden Lai Sheng-kung (賴盛功) recommended giving farmers time to comply with the regulation, the office said that it would first improve education efforts before beginning inspections and issuing fines next year.
The use of fresh chicken manure as fertilizer has long been a problem, Taichung Environmental Protection Bureau Chief Secretary Shang Wen-lin (商文麟) said, adding that the droppings are categorized as commercial waste and must therefore be composted before use.
Heping District Representative Wu Wan-fu (吳萬福) said that he learned of the issue after taking office and vowed to draft regulations to rectify the problem, as it has generated many complaints.
However, Taichung Agriculture Bureau Director Tsai Ching-chiang (蔡精強) said that no additional regulations are needed, as the use of fresh chicken droppings as manure is illegal — the main question is how to conduct inspections.
Farmers use fresh chicken manure due to its low cost and high rate of return, Taichung Agriculture Development Association chairman Lo Ching-yu (羅進玉) said, adding that the government should offer a replacement fertilizer or subsidies if it wishes to ban its use.
Touting tourism over agriculture is unfair to farmers, as 75 percent of Lishan is farmland, Lo added.
The agriculture bureau said that it offers a subsidy of NT$1 per 1kg of organic fertilizer used, while the Agriculture and Food Agency offers a subsidy of NT$2 per 1kg, for a yearly maximum subsidy of about NT$18,000 for six tonnes.
An Agricultural Research Institute team led by Chang Rui-ming (張瑞明) has developed a method of creating granulated fertilizer from chicken manure and is awaiting approval for mass production, the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area Administration said, adding that it would soon conduct of tour of the facility for Lishan farmers.
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