Taiwan plans demonstration farmland for organic farming: COATaipei, Aug. 7 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture (COA) said Tuesday that the government plans to introduce demonstration farmland and "plant doctor" services to help promote organic agriculture in the country.
The efforts will be in response to the Organic Agriculture Promotion Act, which was promulgated May 30 and will come into force a year from that date, COA Minister Lin Tsung-hsien said at a forum in Taipei.
According to Lin, some 20,000 hectares of fertile, vacant land owned by state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp. (Taisugar) in Yunlin County's Huwei Township will be designated for organic farming, to be used specifically to educate small farmers on eco-friendly farming methods.
The aim will be to "institutionalize" organic farming and expand the scale of organic farms across the country, Lin said.
Through this method, the COA can establish a food culture in which the public will be able to tell the difference between bad and healthy foods, he explained, adding that with the support of consumers and the policy of safeguarding the survival of organic farmers, they can together ensure the sustainability of organic agriculture.
According to COA statistics, land given over to organic farming in Taiwan currently stands at 10,000 hectares, which constitutes roughly 1.2 percent of the nation's farmland.
The government plans to increase organic farmland to 15,000 hectares, or 1.89 percent, by 2020.
The planned introduction of "plant doctors," who will provide farmers with agricultural counseling and guidance, will safeguard plant health protection and quarantine, the minister said, adding that they are necessities if the country is to promote organic farming as well as cut down on the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.