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Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan

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Unveil The Diversified Facade of Modern Farmer

Hit: 323
Source: TACTRI / COA
Date: 2007/02/16

When it is quite warm as flipping one page over farmer's calendar, the first day of spring for the year 2007 falls on the 4th of February, which is also the annual Farmers' Day. First day of spring is a brand new start, while farmers now must begin new work on their farms. One farmer said it well: "the mood now is solid because every seed sown represents a hope; as for what will happen in the future one cannot tell for now, and there is no need to think that far. The point is: one has to put in all efforts for the time being."

As indicated, it represents exactly the spirit of Taiwan's farmer—a spirit of diligence, with a strong work ethic, persistence, and confidence in God, a kind of the non-submissive spirit that a defeat can make one more courageous. After Taiwan's accession to WTO, the agricultureyoung farmersector has been exposed to very stringent trials brought on by global competition. Nonetheless, modern farmers with knowledge of know how to cope with the times are still striving positively to make breakthroughs and endure such hardship in order to discover their niche of opportunity. Therefore, whether introducing novel ideas or making use of novel technologies, farmers of all ages are working together with good efforts, in the hope to creating hope for the future, and this is exactly the spirit of the "new agricultural movement" facilitated by the Council of Agriculture.

The "Council of Agriculture opinion survey of the new agricultural movement"  interviewed 1,424 agricultural workers of 20 years or older in November 2006. The survey revealed that 62.9% of the interviewees indicate that they are willing to join "group cultivation of organic crop," while farmers, between the ages of 30-49 have shown the greatest willingness. Those who are willing to join amount to 745 of interviewees in the survey, while there percentage reaches as much as 69.6% for those aged between 20 to 29.

With regard to "production resume (calendrical) system," as many as 64.9% of the farmers interviewed are willing to join. After cross-analysis by age, it is found that farmers between 40 to 49 of age, as well as between 20 to 29 years old are found to share the highest willingness to join, amounting to 78.2% and 77.1% of the interviewees respectively.

On the other hand, it is found that 79% of the interviewees agreed with the policy of  "rotating energy crops with horticultural crops," put forth by the Council of Agriculture, while as many as 86% of the interviewees, between 20 to 49 years old, show willingness to cooperate, indicating a fact that idea and concept of modern farmers are constantly improving.

Major policies for implementation of the "new agriculture movement" are: 
-- to expand organic agriculture, 
--to realize the resume (calendrical) production system, and 
-- to cancel the subsidy system in steps.
It is further found that from the survey results that farmers not only recognize, but also are willing to cooperate because they know well that only through "change" can there be a chance for development.

Such a change has been realized among farmers of all ages.

For instance, in the first production and marketing squads of for organic rice in Yuli Township Hualien County, honored as one of the top ten favorable production and marketing squads in 2006, members are mostly senior farmers between 60 to 70 years old, and some could only speak Japanese, and know barely a word of Taiwanese, not to mention Mandarin. But they are willing to make breakthroughs and to grow organic rice in order to live in harmony with Mother Nature. Walking among the trend of world, it’s no longer just "Uncle Kun Bin," but whole "Uncles Kun Bin"-like squads.

The 21st squad of production and market for grapes in Dacun Village, Changhua [Jhanghua] are composed of members about thirty-something of age, with three-fourths of them with a high school and college education, and they are considered to be early generation wander Vogel. About half of the squad members own their own grape brand names as well as master their marketing skills, knowing how make use of the Internet, as a result, the grapes grown are mostly sold directly to the consumers, and one-fourth of the squad members make as much as a million dollars per year. They have thus turned themselves into "novel agricultural nobility" who know how to cope with trends and changes over times. 

young farmer at fruit farmAs modern farmers strive to improve their quality and reinforce marketing and packaging orders to attract the attention of consumers local and overseas, we can evidently find the hard work of our farmers as agricultural products exported overseas have to compete with rivalries from all over the world. 

The mango produced by the 20th production squad and marketing for fruits, Nanhua Village, Tainan obtained stipulation certification from ISO 9000 quality management system EURPEGAP EU retail-selling management two years ago, and they are putting on their own international requirements. With 30 years of experience growing mangos, Lin Cong-Ming, the 60-year-old squad leader said, "There can only be progress with competition and, to be competitive, one has to learn no matter how old one is, or one will be outcast by the times."

Dai Yong-Cin, owner of Yong Sin Orchid Garden who has had orchid greenhouse for thirty years, has turned to grow potted orchids and export them to the States. He says that though he knows that the problem of root rot will cause drastic cut in sales, he insists he simply cannot afford to ignore the potted plant industry. He says, "Potted plants possess the greatest international competitiveness, and I believe that once the market is wide-open with effort the production value can be really amazing. Though it might be somewhat hard now, our efforts should be able to make a breakthrough. Time should prove everything." This is exactly the image of a modern farmer who makes proper use of blue-sea strategy to explore the overseas market. 

When values provide by agriculture is less and less limited to production, people like manager of the field from "Gu Dong Club" Lai Cing-Song, "Learning Farming Garden at the Creek" instigator Fong Sia-Fei and owner Lai Jhong-You of "Flower and Fruit Garden of Jian Men Ecology" are creating diversified values for Taiwan's agriculture from the aspects of ecology, humanity, and education, rendering a kind of agricultural life culture and philosophy of their own. This is a modern farmer of a different kind and their numbers are growing. 

This is the new facade of modern farmer in Taiwan, demonstrating diversified values and aspects.

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