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Premier Liu visits areas in south hard-hit by rain

Recent downpour sees an agricultural loss of over NT$53million

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan, left, is seen carefully looking at an orchid flower in Pingtung County yesteday. Liu went to southern Taiwan to inspect regio...

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan, left, is seen carefully looking at an orchid flower in Pingtung County yesteday. Liu went to southern Taiwan to inspect regio...

Premier Liu Chao-shiung yesterday paid his first community outreach visit to regions affected by recent torrential rain in southern Taiwan amid legislators' harsh criticisms and local farmers' protests.
According to the latest statistics released by the Council of Agriculture, the agricultural loss caused by recent heavy rains in Southern Taiwan has reached more than NT$53 million. The downpour on June 5 and June 6 affected more than 1,000 hectares of farmlands; Changhua, Yunlin, and Kaohsiung are considered the three worst hit areas.
Liu, faced with criticisms from both ruling and opposition legislators who urged him to descend from his ivory tower in Taipei and have more face-to-face contact with grassroots people to get first-hand information about the flood damage, said in Kaohsiung it was the right time for him to inspect the areas and farmers at this time.
"I was quite occupied by the legislative question sessions in Taipei. I wish I could have made my trip to southern Taiwan sooner. But since we have a number of missions on this trip, and a lot of follow-up matters to deal with, I think it is very appropriate for me to come and meet with the farmers and everyone here now," said Liu, who is scheduled to inspect Kaohsiung County's Tzukuan township, rice paddies in Pingtung County's Wantan township, and a floral garden in the southernmost county's Chutien township.
But farmers in Pingtung County Sunday raised protest banners and complained that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Liu did not care for local farmers.
Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), who accompanied Liu on the inspection tour in Kaohsiung, said the torrential rain hit Kaohsiung for two to three days, which resulted in a loss of NT$8.6 million agricultural crop, with many vegetables completely drenched in rain.
Yang said to Liu that many farmers urged the government to raise the financial subsidies given to vegetable farmers from NT$6,000 to NT$10,000 per hectare, and called on the central government to raise the fertilizer subsidy and stabilize vegetable prices sold on the market so as to make farmers' lives easier. The ruling Kuomintang Legislator Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) also suggested lowering the threshold set for farmers to apply for financial subsidies.
Responding to the suggestions, Liu noted that he had discussed with COA Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) to re-examine the subsidy policies, and will consider making changes within the shortest amount of time.
He said the COA should engage in new ways of thinking, and lower the subsidy application threshold so that more farmers affected by natural disasters can be included to apply for financial help from the government. Liu also noted that the central government, when making agricultural policies in the future, should invite local governments to participate in the policy-making process.
"I'm not making empty promises, and they should be fulfilled," Liu said.
He added that the former government had spent some money on regulating rivers and watercourses, and that the new government will speed up its pace in drawing up good measures to prevent floods from causing severe damage in the future.


Updated : 2021-06-25 08:30 GMT+08:00