Current status of domestic organic agriculture related measures

Current status of domestic organic agriculture related measures

The Current Situation and Prospect of Organic Agriculture Development
Looking at the development of organic agriculture and related legislative process in Taiwan, from the Agricultural Production and Certification Act promulgated in 2007 to the Organic Agriculture Promotion Act passed in 2018, Taiwan has completed the phase of Organic 2.0 proposed by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), and is now actively promoting the transition from Organic 2.0 to Organic 3.0 as the corresponding response.
Article 1 of the Organic Agriculture Promotion Act points out that the purpose of developing organic agriculture is to “maintaining water and soil resources, ecological environment, biodiversity, animal welfare and consumer interests, and promoting agricultural operation that is eco-friendly and sustainable use of resources, where organic agriculture is defined as “Any farming practice including cultivation, forestry, aquaculture, and animal husbandry without using chemical fertilizer, chemical pesticide, genetically modified organism, and related products, based on the principle of ecological balance and nutrient recycling”. It is hoped that through the formal implementation of the Promotion Act, Taiwan will progress from the stage of strengthening management by legislation and formulating standards and norms for organic agricultural products to reach the new milestone of promoting the whole industry, realizing sustainable utilization of environment and resources, integrating eco-friendly farming practices and sustainable development of agriculture.
The current situation and prospect of organic culture in Taiwan are briefly described as follows.

Organic and Eco-friendly Farming Areas

Since 2017, the Council of Agriculture has suggested a new agricultural innovation promotion plan, with “promoting organic and environmentally friendly farming” as the key policy project. By the end of June 2021, there were 16 accredited certification bodies, including 15 certification bodies of organic agricultural products and 1 certification body for livestock products in Taiwan. The area of certified organic farmland was 11,468 hectares and a total of 41 eco-friendly farming promotion groups have been recognized, which registered an eco-friendly farming area of 5,041 hectares, yielding a total area of 16,509 hectares, accounting for 2.09% of available cultivated land in Taiwan. Compared with the area of organic and eco-friendly farming of 11,569 hectares at the end of 2018, it has increased by 42.7% (see Figure 1). The number of units that passed organic certification was 4,273, with an average area of organic certification of 2.68 hectares per unit.

Organic and Eco-friendly Farming Areas

Since 2017, the Council of Agriculture has suggested a new agricultural innovation promotion plan, with “promoting organic and environmentally friendly farming” as the key policy project. By the end of June 2021, there were 16 accredited certification bodies, including 15 certification bodies of organic agricultural products and 1 certification body for livestock products in Taiwan. The area of certified organic farmland was 11,468 hectares and a total of 41 eco-friendly farming promotion groups have been recognized, which registered an eco-friendly farming area of 5,041 hectares, yielding a total area of 16,509 hectares, accounting for 2.09% of available cultivated land in Taiwan. Compared with the area of organic and eco-friendly farming of 11,569 hectares at the end of 2018, it has increased by 42.7% (see Figure 1). The number of units that passed organic certification was 4,273, with an average area of organic certification of 2.68 hectares per unit.

  • Farmers' Production Support System
  • Corporate organic cultivation zones
  • Organic ingredients used in school meals
  • Diversified channels to organic agricultural products and education of organic farmers
  • Import and export of organic agri-food products

In order to expand eco-friendly farming, farmers are given green subsidies or environmental service payments, with public resources given in support of agricultural transformation to ensure food security, environmental sustainability and farmers' livelihood. The organic and eco-friendly farming subsidies launched by the Council of Agriculture since 2017 will annually give ecological conservation incentives per hectare for those who are actually engaged in organic and eco-friendly farming; If it is during the period of organic conversion, agricultural production subsidies will be given in addition to the ecological conservation incentives.
Meanwhile, through the certification and inspection costs of organic (in-conversion) agricultural products, the improvement of production and marketing equipment such as green (net) house facilities, agricultural machinery and processing equipment by organic and eco-friendly farmers and operators, and the application of proper fertilizers for organic and eco-friendly farming, the center will accelerate the promotion of organic agriculture.

The government consults and helps to establish corporal organic cultivation zones, as the cluster benefit of the industry, and will reduce the pollution risk by adjacent fields. Currently, 16 public corporate organic cultivation zones have been set up, covering an area of 935 hectares. There are 11 organic cultivation areas by farmers' groups or individual farmers, covering an area of 531 hectares.

The government assists school meal suppliers or group catering operators to establish organic food processing facilities of an organic food supply system, in order for the schools to further encourage healthy diet of organic vegetables at home. At present, 1.4 million students in primary and secondary schools consumed organic ingredients for lunch, with a weekly supply of more than 222 metric tons. The National Army purchased organic ingredients for non-staple foods, which accounted for 8.7% of the total purchase volume in 2020.

The government assists producers to expand the marketing channels of organic agricultural products, including helping to set up retail channels and organic agricultural products sub-sections in large-scale hypermarkets, organic farmers' markets, e-commerce platform with individual organic shops, online farmers' market sales platforms, etc., and participate in major food exhibitions to set up venue of organic agriculture for promotion. The government also continues to promote the organic agri-food education in Taiwan, and ventures deep in all levels of school, kindergartens, community and elderly centers, channel stores, government organizations and enterprises, etc., to publicly educate the positive attitude and values of organic life.

With the Organic Agriculture Promotion Act officially implemented on May 30, 2019, only countries that have signed an organic equivalence agreement with Taiwan within one year after the implementation of the regulations can sell organic produces in our market. By the end of May 2020, Taiwan has signed bilateral organic equivalence agreements with Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries, and our domestic organic agricultural products certified in Taiwan can be directly exported to the country for sale in the name of organic. This will gradually open the path to export market of domestic organic agricultural products to drive the growth of organic industry at home.

The Prospect of Organic Agriculture Development in Taiwan

On the premise of promoting the stable growth of organic agriculture in Taiwan, the center draws up four visionary goals for the development of organic agriculture in Taiwan with reference to the four principles of “health, ecology, fairness and care” of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM):

Health—Improvement of production, living and ecological environment

From producers to consumers, organic agriculture professionals can be cultivated by promoting organic education for the entire population and professional training for workers related to the organic industry chain. And, the center should advocate a cautious and responsible attitude to jointly promote the development of organic agriculture.

Fairness—Social innovation and strengthening of partnership

The center will actively encourage communication, coordination and equal partnership among all stakeholders in the organic industrial chain, such as operators of organic agricultural products, government agencies and research institutions, and provide appropriate suggestions or determinant judgments. 

Ecology— Implementation of green economy and sustainable management

From producers to consumers, organic agriculture professionals can be cultivated by promoting organic education for the entire population and professional training for workers related to the organic industry chain. And, the center should advocate a cautious and responsible attitude to jointly promote the development of organic agriculture.

Care—Rigorous management and popularization of organic education

From producers to consumers, organic agriculture professionals can be cultivated by promoting organic education for the entire population and professional training for workers related to the organic industry chain. And, the center should advocate a cautious and responsible attitude to jointly promote the development of organic agriculture.

Organic Agriculture Promotion Center | +886-4-22840145 | 145 Xingda Rd.,South Dist.,Taichung City 40227, Taiwan(R.O.C) | info@oapc.org.tw