台灣銀行家雜誌第91期106.07 / Lin Tsung-hsien
Smart Agriculture 4.0 plan kicks offBoost the value of Taiwan's agriculture industry
Since Lin Tsung-hsien became Chairman of the Executive Yuan's Council of Agriculture, he has been actively promoting innovative new agriculture policies, of which Smart Agriculture 4.0 is especially important. This plan aims to develop smart production and digital service in Taiwan's agriculture sector to boost Taiwan's food production self-sufficiency, agricultural exports and opportunities in emerging markets. Globally, the agricultural industry is undergoing a transformation, as smart technology is increasingly being adopted for farming purposes. In Taiwan, an increasing number of young people with a passion for farming here are moving to the countryside. Yet far from simply following traditional farming techniques, they are instead incorporating advanced technology into their work, such as big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). This can help Taiwan's agricultural industry become more advanced. The Tsai government has a vision of transforming Taiwan's agricultural industry. The Agriculture 4.0 plan aims to develop smart production and digital service in Taiwan's agriculture sector to boost the production efficiency of the agricultural sector and increase consumers' trust in Taiwan's agricultural products. In recent years, the Taiwan agricultural sector has faced some considerable challenges; farmers' income is low; the rural population is aging; arable land is scarce; it is difficult to each economies of scale; labor is in short supply, and there are food safety problems. Further, there are factors occurring outside of Taiwan having a detrimental effect on the farming sector here, such as climate change and trade liberalization. With this in mind, the Council of Agriculture aims to upgrade the farming sector (in terms of production efficiency, food safety and profitability for farmers) and make it a more sustainable industry with 3 big construction projects and 10 key policies. Resolving power supply issues can boost sustainable agricultureTaiwan is currently experimenting with different agricultural methods. Cheese production is flourishing in Hualien and Taitung, where the water is good and there are mountains. Further, Taiwan is developing natural fertilizers successfully. For instance, following the fermentation process, cow manure can serve an excellent natural fertilizer which is far less harmful to the environment than chemical fertilizers. Cow manure is better than chicken or pig dung because the former two animals are omnivorous; consequently, their waste products may contain residual traces of zinc and copper. 10 Taiwanese agricultural firms are now processing cow dung together with food waste to be used as fertilizer. It is tested for traces of heavy metal before being used. The farmer Tseng Kuo-chi founded the Organic Fertilizer Cooperative. On an annual basis, it can process 5,000 tons of cow manure and produce 2,000 metric tons of high quality organic fertilizers, which are able to irrigate 400 hectares of organic paddy fields. Meanwhile, pig farmers face pressure to curb odors, air emissions and water quality issues. These problems can be mitigated by applying biogas energy anaerobic digestion solutions to pig manure management. By 2020, the Council of Agriculture plans to increase the number of pigs in biogas generation from 1 million to 2.5 million and set up a subsidy program to support the usage of biogas energy solutions. This will be beneficial to about 2,000 small-scale pig farms across the country. As of May 2017, there are 39 livestock farms across Taiwan using biogas as a power source. 37 of them are pig farms. One is an egg farm and one is a dairy farm. In total, Taiwan has a biogas generation capacity of 3,470 kw for the purposes of animal husbandry. Lin Tsung-hsien notes that under Taiwan's plan to phase out nuclear power from residential property by 2025, renewables should account for 20% of energy mix. The agricultural sector can support his objective by stepping up sustainable farming techniques. Water should be conserved, and alternative power sources should be used, such as photovoltaic and micro-hydro power.The role of big data in upgrading the agriculture industry Consumer concern about food safety is high. Thus, the government must develop a system to make agricultural products traceable. At present, eggs from 1805 hens can be traced to their source, as can 18,034 hectares of agricultural products. In Lin Tsung-hsien's view, Taiwan must develop a more comprehensive system to ensure the agricultural supply chain is fully transparent. Currently, different methods of mapping out the supply chain are causing confusion. They should be integrated under a single platform. Taiwan is also experimenting with smart poultry production. It has developed a system to explore the effects of different hatching environments on the hatchability of chicks and set parameters to monitor the health status of chickens. Data is being collected and analyzed to help the government and farmers optimize poultry production. Sensors, smart devices, Internet of Things (IoT), and big data analysis help to digitize knowledge, automate production, optimize products and simplify operations. This advanced technology also allows products to be traced through computerized systems for the purposes of intelligent production and digital marketing.To promote the Smart Agriculture 4.0 Program, the Council of Agriculture has prioritized ten industries for promotion: moth orchid, seedling, mushroom, rice, agricultural facility, aquaculture, water fowl, traceable agricultural products, dairy, and marine fishery. Boost participation of young people and venture capitalists in the agriculture sector Taiwan has 10 key policies to boost agricultural innovation: protect the environment, stabilize farmers' income, promote environmentally friendly farming, optimize use of agricultural resources, increase sustainable farming, enhance the competitiveness of the livestock and poultry industry, boost science and technology innovation, strengthen food security, ensure the safety of agricultural products, diversify agricultural products and enhance the added value of the agriculture.The agriculture industry is facing a serious labor shortage as few young people want to work as farmers and the rural population is ageing. To resolve this manpower shortage, the Council of Agriculture has deployed a dedicated group of agriculture experts to provide technical training to farmers. There are a total of 90 of these experts, who on average are 40 years old. The results of the pilot agriculture technical expert program have been good, so the government plans to expand the scope of its services to As the pilot results are good, is expected to set up eight groups, the scope of services expanded to Yilan County, Changhua County, Chiayi County, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City as well as northern Pingtung County, Hualien County, Taitung County. 240 people are involved. Further, the government is working to attract venture capital to the agriculture sector.Lin Tsung-hisen believes that Taiwan will make agricultural innovation breakthroughs before 2020. In the future, Taiwan's food production self-sufficiency rate will reach 40%, its agricultural output value will reach 2.19 billion TWD, and 57% of its agricultural exports will go to emerging markets. The future is bright for Taiwan's agricultural sector.