Taiwan farm industry seeks to appeal to young generation

In a bid to rejuvenate the aging agricultural sector the government is planning to appeal to young people, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) said on Thursday.

Over the next 10 years, Tsao said, Taiwan wants to encourage 30,000 young people to enter the sector. In 2017, the first year of the 10-year plan, the government wants 3,000 young people to become involved in agricultural businesses.

In a report submitted to the Executive Yuan, the COA said the average age of workers in local agriculture is now 62, indicating that the sector is aging and needs to attract young blood to reverse the situation.

Tsao said that the move to encourage young people to take an interest in agriculture is expected to create more job opportunities and improve the local job market.

In an effort to incentivize the young generation, Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), Tsao’s deputy, told a press conference that the government will ask the Land Bank of Taiwan, which specializes in providing credit to the real estate and agricultural sectors, to help young farmers lease land to develop businesses.

Chen also said that in order to expanding the supply of arable land, the government will encourage landowners to lease 30,000 hectares of fallow farm land, adding that greater supply is expected to attract more than 1,000 new entrants into the sector.

Chen said that income would be a critical factor in attracting the young generation. To that end, he pointed out that “professional agricultural households” make an average of NT$1.31 million (US$41,194) per annum, higher than the average family income in Taiwan.

According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, average household income in Taiwan was NT$1.17 million per annum in 2015.

The term “professional agricultural household” refers to families that make a living exclusively from agriculture and the number is currently 123,000, out of a total of 780,000 agricultural households nationwide, COA data showed.

In addition, the 252,000 households whose major source of income comes from agriculture have an average annual income of NT$1.2 million, which is also higher than the national household income average, government data indicated.

Chen said that professional agriculture households and those whose income comes largely from agricultural businesses have seen their hard work pay off. In addition, their relatively high income could serve as an incentive in making the sector more appealing to the young generation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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