More must be done to improve food security for Taiwan's poor: Council of Agriculture

The number of Taiwanese who lack proper food security has doubled over the past decade according to reports

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Pres. Tsai speaks at the 6th Nat. Agricultural Congress (Image from Office of the President)

Pres. Tsai speaks at the 6th Nat. Agricultural Congress (Image from Office of the President)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Despite being ranked the 22nd richest country in the world according to Global Finance last year, the number of households in Taiwan that lack food security has continued to grow over the last decade.

According to data that was discussed at the recent National Agricultural Congress held Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 in Taipei, Taiwan is home to around 1.8 million people, or 7.8 percent of the population, that are underfed or regularly go hungry.

Reports say that this number has doubled over the last ten year period, from 3.6 percent in 2007.

The issue of food security and improving the quality and quantity of agricultural output were the major focus of this year’s National Agricultural Congress organized by the Council of Agriculture (COA), which was convened for the first time in 15 years this past weekend.

The theme of the National Agriculture Congress was Food security and Climate Change, reports UDN.

At the Congress, President Tsai Ing-wen urged experts and agriculturalists to contribute their “wisdom, experience, and knowledge to help conceive of new directions and solutions” for the problems facing Taiwan’s Agricultural sector.

Chief among those problems is how to ensure that the country’s poor are provided with basic food security. Consensus of participants at the Congress is that the percentage of population dealing with hunger and malnutrition cannot be allowed to grow further.

Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), the Vice-Minister of the COA, noted that while the nation’s most vulnerable often go hungry, Taiwan still produces a startling amount of food waste annually. These two problems are clearly related, and Taiwan should begin putting forth effort to reduce waste and make unused food easily accessible to those in need.

The COA has reportedly launched a Food Bank program this year, which will coordinate a system of communication between local community Food Banks and the country’s farms and fisheries. The COA aims to be able to promptly acquire and provide healthy foods for community food banks whenever they make a request.