Land reform in the Republic of China is based on Dr. Sun Yat-sen's doctrine of "land to the tiller". It has been carried out gradually and peacefully to ensure that land reform and regulations are feasible, efficient, reasonable and fair, thus accomplishing the goal of "of the tiller, and by the tiller." The outstanding results achieved have made Taiwan a model for land reform in Southeast Asia. There have been three stages:
Land rentals were reduced from 50% to 37.5% in 1949. Contracts signed covered a land area of 256,557 hectares and benefited 296,043 farming families.
A total of 139,058 hectares of land has been sold to 286,563 farming families since 1951.
Beginning in 1953, this program was designed to enable tenant farmers to own the land they tilled, so as to increase farm production and farmers' income, as well as to transfer landlords' capital to help develop industrial construction. This policy of "nurturing industry with agriculture and developing agriculture with industry" has laid a solid foundation for Taiwan's rapid economic progress. A total of 194,823 farming families have received a land area of 139,249 hectares.
The equalization of land rights program begun in 1956 was designed to maximize land utilization and bring the public to share the benefits thereof by "regulating land value, taxing and purchasing land according to the value, and giving the unearned increment to the public." Under current regulations, the Provincial Government verifies and adjusts land values by cross checking with actual cases and prices of urban land transactions in all counties, cities, district towns and townships. These are analyzed to ensure an accurate picture of movements in land prices as a basis for adjusting county and city land values, setting new land values and banding taxation levies, with the aim of making tax assessments fairer and more reasonable and thoroughly implementing the policy of directing price increases into public coffers. In 1994, land value was reassessed, and the total land area affected was 1,765,422 hectares.
Cooperative use of land in both urban and rural areas has been effected to maximize land utilization.
In order to solve the problems of inadequate drainage and irrigation inherent in fragmented and narrow farm plots, the government made its first try at farmland consolidation in Changhua and Taichung Counties, both of which had just been devastated by the flood of August 7, 1959. This was accomplished by consolidating many farm plots into one large area which was then redistributed on a proportional basis according to land valuation. In line with the central government's overall revamping of agriculture, we are continuing to carry out farmland consolidation, updating and improvement of irrigation channels on earlier consolidated farmland, updating of farm communities, and repair of farm roads on consolidated farmland, in order to promote land use, rural modernization, and development of the rural infrastructure.
By the end of fiscal year 1994, a total of 374,835 hectares of farmland had been consolidated. In 1993, the farming population was 3,993,051 in total. 82.5% of these citizens were farming their own land, with each family farming an average of 1.07 hectares and each person owning about 0.22 hectares. Currently the government has begun the third stage of farmland consolidation, hoping to expand the scale of farm operations and to promote joint, entrusted, and cooperative management. Under this program, a professional farmer may own five to ten hectares of land. Meanwhile, farmland consolidation will continue to advance and take agriculture in Taiwan to a higher plateau.
Under this program, urban plots that are irregular, fragmented, or unfit for construction are to be consolidated and reallocated to the original owners after public utilities have been installed. The owners involved are to balance their exchanges themselves. To date, 128 cases of urban consolidation have been completed, totaling 5,968 hectares of land.
The Provincial Government is accelerating its program to build improved public housing for low-income families, laborers, aborigines and military dependents. Under this program, county and city governments are to establish waiting lists of housing applicants and procure and manage land for housing projects in order to rapidly solve the housing problem, improve living surroundings, and raise the quality of life for residents. To promote urban development, the Provincial Government is actively planning new town developments, implementing life-routine road transport systems and urban mass rapid transport systems, building urban car parks, and assisting local governments in their planning and construction of roads, bridges, storm drains, waste water sewers, parks and green space in new urban areas, industrial zones and new communities.
Due to fast economic growth, people have experienced major changes in society. The in creasing percentage of the elderly and women in rural areas and changing consumer habits have slowed down agricultural development, which in turn has affected farmers' income. Economic and trade internationalization and liberalization, as well as the prospect of ROC entry into the GATT/WTO, mean that Taiwan's agriculture is facing increasingly complex problems and difficulties necessitating major changes. In order to help farmers overcome present difficulties, the Provincial Government's agricultural development policy aims to look after farmers, develop agriculture, and develop prosperous and attractive rural communities. In coordination with central government proposals for over all agricultural reorientation, we are continuing to promote the "Taiwan Province Local Agriculture Development Project" aimed at developing agricultural production on business lines, modernizing the farming way of life and preserving the natural ecology of rural communities. Project items include: coordinating government functions with private research institutions to promote new agricultural knowledge, improve production technologies, and adjust the agricultural production mix; processing special loans and disaster relief payments for farmers and fishermen on a case-by-case basis; overhauling the farm produce marketing system to stabilize produce prices; strengthening agricultural management to ensure safe consumption of farm produce; protecting agriculture as appropriate and effectively controlling farm imports; disseminating non-pesticide techniques; improving disease prevention for livestock and poultry, expanding domestic animal insurance, and stabilizing live stock operations; overhauling forestry industry operations to promote ecology and resource conservation; improving water and soil protection and slope utilization management to maintain protection of the land; developing fishery resources and promoting international fishery cooperation; integrating agricultural science and technology, and raising farm productivity. The government also operates farmers' health insurance to provide farmers with appropriate medical care, and is promoting leisure farming and fishing, as well as developing tourist fruit farms and forest recreation zones, to provide more public leisure space and to expand the range of services provided by the agricultural sector.
Agricultural production includes farming, forestry, fishing, and livestock. The production index in 1993 with the 1991 index standing at I 00, reached 103.7. Farm produce accounted for 42.7% of 1993's total agricultural production of US$13.79 billion. Food products and special crops dominated farm produce, with rice leading at 2.23 million metric tons. Furthermore, the government buys and sells cereal grains at guaranteed prices and operates a rice procurement policy to stabilize grain prices and protect farmers' incomes.
In order to fortify agricultural structure and to maximize profit, a satellite-farm system has been implemented, and guaranteed buying prices for agricultural products have been established, In addition, to diversity agricultural development, efforts have recently been directed toward tourist farms and high economic value produce such as mushrooms, asparagus, sugarcanes, tea, grapes, melons, and vegetables. These not only supply the domestic market, but are also exported. in 1993, total exports of special produce reached US$933.95 million.
The government has set up a sound marketing system and a comprehensive farm produce marketing information network as part of its marketing modernization drive to ensure balanced market supply and stabilize farm produce prices. To ensure the health of the public, we are also upgrading the work of "crop pest diagnosis stations" and encouraging safer use of pesticide technology and prevention to ensure pesticide quality and the safety of farm produce In line with rising living standards and growth of the tourism industry, a six-year plan for the development of leisure agriculture involving the opening of 42 leisure agriculture reserves came into force beginning in fiscal year 1992.
Taiwan has 1,864,700 hectares of forest land, accounting for 52% of the total land area. The total timber volume is 326,421,397 cubic meters. The principal forest components are hardwoods, conifers, and hardwood-conifer mixtures. The well-known varieties are red cypress, China firs, and machilus. The utilization of forestry resources emphasizes land preservation and national security. The government is determined to improve afforestation, forest protection, landslide and flood prevention, water catchment area management and forestry operations in order to protect forest resources and develop the beneficial functions of forested areas. In order to best utilize forestry resources, the Provincial Government has set up forest recreational zones in Ali Mountain, Tahsueh Mountain, Taiping Mountain, Hohuan Mountain, Kenting, and Hsitou, in addition to several ecological protection zones which are designed to promote ecological conservation and to protect Taiwan's rare animal and plant species as well as its unique ecology for educational and scientific research purposes.
To ensure the development of advanced forestry operations, the Provincial
Government's main tasks are: (1) afforestation and forest nurture;
(2) developing forest recreation; (3) forest operational management;
(4) forest management and conservation; (5) protected forest operational
management; (6) nature conservation zone operational management.
With its vast surrounding waters rich in fishery resources, Taiwan is an ideal place for fishery development. The fish catch in 1993 totaled 1,423,971 metric tons, of which the inshore catch accounted for 18.16%, the deep-sea catch 58.63%, piscicultural production 17.57%, and the coastal catch 5.64%. Along with the growth of the fishing industry, related trade has also increased.
In 1993, total imports were US$589.11 million, while exports reached US$1.33 billion, about 2.3 times the former and a 1.6-fold in crease over the total exports of 1979. As of the end of 1993, the number of workers in the fishing industry totaled 288,350, of which 64% were fishermen and 36% were pisciculture workers. In order to nurture fishery resources, increase production and improve fishermen's living standards, the Provincial Government is strengthening the protection of coastal fishery resources; planning pisciculture zones and improving the pisciculture production environment by preventing excessive pumping of groundwater; constructing fishing ports (Taiwan has 216 fishing ports at present), docks, and coastal infrastructure; developing regional fishing harbors; improving the fishery investment climate; creating effective fishermen's associations and fish market organizations; improving fishery technology and pollution prevention; and strengthening fishermen's services and welfare measures. The government has mapped out a "lowland farming and fishing communities planning and construction project" aimed at improving the living environment of farming and fishing communities, raising farmers' and fishermen's living standards and narrowing the gap between urban and rural life. Other measures include insurance for fishermen and fishing boats, promoting fish products marketing and processing, and establishing a comprehensive fishery information system.
Action is also being taken to promote international fishery cooperation, reduce operational costs, minimize fishery disputes, and accelerate the development of deep-sea fishing. Moreover, in order to facilitate sale of catches and procurement of supplies for deep-sea fishing boats, a total of 67 foreign bases have been established, of which 11 serve the Pacific Ocean, 23 serve the Indian Ocean, and 33 serve the Atlantic Ocean.
Under government guidance, animal husbandry in Taiwan has advanced from being a sideline for farmers into being a rapid growing industry. Among all types of agricultural production, it now ranks second only to rice production and contributes to the country's booming exports. Reclaimed riverside and coastal land and hillsides are used to help develop the livestock industry. The major livestock animals are pigs, cattle, and goats. Production reached 14,811,785 pigs, 40,833 head of cattle, and 181,000 goats in 1993. The present stage of development emphasizes dairy farming. Focused areas are breeding, management, and care.
The goals are to upgrade quality, raise productivity, establish a comprehensive disease reporting system, strengthen poultry, livestock and aquatic animals disease prevention work, establish a system of animal drugs, feed and feed additives management and live stock hygiene and health care, and to expand livestock insurance, to enable farmers to increase their income and guarantee the hygiene and safety of animal products. To solve pollution problems of animal products. To solve pollution problems from poultry and livestock effluent, we are strengthening waste water treatment and animal product drug residue prevention measures to maintain the quality of the environment and safeguard public health. Assistance is also provided with promoting distribution and marketing of animal products, hogs, poultry, goats and meat products, as well as helping farmers' groups to organize shared distribution and marketing task forces and arranging training for them. This helps to improve distribution facilities and lowers distribution costs.