The Ministry of Labor has agreed to support a proposal to increase the number of migrant workers in the agricultural sector from 6,000 to 12,000, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said at a young farmers’ event in Hualien on Saturday.
During the event, which was held for the first time in two years after the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers from 17 young farmers’ associations asked about programs to improve the industry and address its labor shortages.
Difficulty finding workers is a nationwide problem, Chen said, adding that agricultural experts have been working to come up with solutions to improve labor within the sector.
Increasing the number of migrant workers allocated to the agricultural sector could relieve the shortage, Chen said, adding that the Ministry of Labor on March 6 agreed to a proposal by the COA to increase the number of foreign workers allowed to work in the industry from 6,000 to 12,000.
Chen did not disclose how long the proposal would need to be discussed by the government before receiving approval.
The government has increased the COA’s budget by allocating an annual subsidy of NT$2.3 billion (US$75.3 million) for agricultural machinery, he said.
Asked about the difficulties faced by young farmers in finding new land to increase the scale of their operations, Chen said that a proposed amendment to the Farmer Health Insurance Act (農民健康保險條例) passed a third reading at the Legislative Yuan and is expected to come into effect on June 1.
The amendment would encourage older farmers to release some land to the younger generation by ensuring their insurance benefits are not reduced by the leasing or sale of land, he said.
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