Together, we can revitalize Taiwan's rural communities
The "New Rural Village - Building New Look Rural Communities" program, promoted by the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau , council of Agriculture should not be a fancy government slogan but a goal that can be achieved with determination and commitment. Taiwan's rural villages face many challenges, including abandoned farmhouses, delapidated structures that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies, and communities that consist mainly of senior citizens and children. The gap between the city and the countryside is also widening, which can be attributed to imperfect community construction, the exodus of people from rural villages, insufficient public infrastructure and inadequate living conditions.
With time running out to reverse these disturbing trends, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has proposed the draft "Rural Community Revitalization Bill."This Bill's purpose is to develop Taiwan's rural communities will inject a substantial amount of funding and resources from a number of government agencies to help rural villages innovate both in terms of infrastructure and human resources development.Concerns have been raised over the new policy, and in light of these concerns, the following feature stories dealing with rural community issues will look into Taiwan's rural villages and reveal serious problems in the long-ignored countryside.
Stories of some villagers trying to make breakthroughs and building their hometowns reflect the rural revolution that is quietly brewing nationwide.
The rejuvenation plan of Nanpu Village, for example, is the story of a village head winning the trust of the villagers with a years-long campaign to bring about a common prosperity. In an effort to create an ecological village, the villagers reached a consensus to rebuild the more than 100-year-old irrigation channel, and they are confident that they can plan and bring the village back to its prior glory.
Kuang Jung Communit located in Chiayi County, has set another model for rejuvenation, where a local volunteer group is attempting to address the growing problem of abandoned houses in the area.The success of restoring Taisugar's old railway lines brought back old memories and forged a strong relationship between the different generations of the community.
Houbi Township , home to a popular 2004 documentary "The Last Rice Farmer, " did not give up the local rice industry. The villagers have decided to transform the mainstay industry into a form of leisure park.
Thanks to the successful cooperation between local indigenous and non-indigenous people, the Mataian Community has now become famous for its eco-friendly wetland park. The villagers made efforts to conserve its wetland ecological system that not only benefits local tourism but creates more job opportunities for the community people .Their campaign has created a win-win situation by meeting the needs for human settlement and ecological preservation.
Providing a theoretical perspective of the revitalization plan, Liou Yaw-hwa, chairman of Feng Chia University's Urban Planning & Spatial Information, expresses his favorable point of view on the plan. Linzihnei Church minister Hsiao Jui-chiao also shares her 10 years experience of community development.The aim of these stories is to provide both theoretical and practical experience for reference to discuss farmer the possibilities of the rural community revitalization program for the public . We look forward to changing Taiwan's rural villages and hope the revitalization plan will bring us a promising future.