Agricultural artistry raises northern Taiwanese county's profile

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) Farmers in northern Taiwan's Taoyuan County have created a piece of "agricultural artwork" by planting different color crops in a rice paddy - potentially opening a new trend of using crop planting to advertise, officials said Thursday. The artwork in Taoyuan shows the Chinese words "Taoyuan, Take Off" in swaths of farmland along a section of the Sun Yat-sen Freeway.
Featuring the words and the colored images of airplanes and high-rise buildings, the work was created by members of the Taoyuan City Farmers' Association by planting purple and green-leafed rice on two hectares of farmland.
The creation has become a new landmark in Taoyuan County.
Officials of the COA's Agriculture and Food Agency said Thursday that the work is part of a project launched by the agency in 2002 to encourage farmers to gradually reduce the amount of land under cultivation by converting unprofitable farmland to other uses.
Since then, the Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, has begun providing technology transfers of colored crop art work creations to farmers, with the aim of boosting the value of farmland, according to the officials.
Farmland can not only be used for rice cultivation and landscaping, it can also be used as an environmentally friendly tool for advertising, according to Chang Su-chen, a researcher at the station.
This is the first time that a rice-paddy art work has been created in so vast swathes of paddy fields in Taiwan, according to Chang, who added she hopes more works can be made along the runways of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to allow more people from other countries to get a bird's eye view of Taiwan's rural farmland landscape.
(By Y.L. Kao)