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Taiwan plans to import farm workers: Council of Agriculture

Taiwan plans to import farm workers: Council of Agriculture

Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) Agriculture chief Chen Bao-ji said Monday that importing farm workers is "inevitable" and that his Council of Agriculture will draft a national policy for that purpose "as soon as possible." Chen made his remarks during a meeting with a group of young farmers in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan, where he heard one person complain that the combined age of the three women working at his tea plantation exceeded 200.
"How much longer can they work for me?" the young farmer wondered. Acknowledging that the labor shortage in Taiwan's agricultural sector is a serious problem, Chen said changes are needed in the sector as members of the younger generation in rural areas do not want to work the land as did their fathers and grandfathers. He cited the example of Israel, where he said he recently met a Thai worker who spoke Mandarin. "The Thai man, who worked in Taiwan six years ago, has now been hired by a dairy farmer in Israel," he said. What is happening in Israel today is similar to the United States in the 19th century, when a great number of Chinese migrant workers were imported to help build railways and later ended up running Chinese restaurants and laundry shops in many American cities, Chen said. "We can see many workers being employed in Japan, too," he said, adding that countries must import foreign workers for the sake of economic development. What his council plans to do is different from some other countries that import only "seasonal" workers to meet the demand of individual farm owners, Chen told CNA following his meeting with local farmers. "We will survey the need for foreign farming hands in Taiwan's farming sector -- the approximate numbers and periods of the year and so on, based on which the COA will make an overall plan," he said. Addressing the concern of a tea farmer that an imported farming hand will not be needed all year around in Taiwan, Chen said his council will factor in farming seasons and regional needs when drafting the plan. "We will see to it that an imported farming hand will find jobs from southern to northern Taiwan seasonally," he said, stressing that his council will "push ahead this policy as soon as possible." (By Yang Shu-min and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-08-04 22:06 GMT+08:00