• April 18, 2024

Taiwan to stop growing

 Taiwan to stop growing

About 84 percent of Taiwan’s tobacco farmers have stopped growing the crop, according to a story in The Taipei Times quoting the Council of Agriculture.

The Council said that farmers could apply for subsidies until the end of the year, when the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTLC) is due to stop buying domestic tobacco.

Prior to 2002, when Taiwan became a member of the World Trade Organization, tobacco and alcohol sales were government-controlled, but the system was abolished with the formation of the TTLC.

Since its formation, the TTLC’s tobacco purchases had gradually shifted overseas, which had greatly affected domestic tobacco farming, said Agriculture and Food Agency Secretary-General Weng Chen-hsin.

In 2013, the council started to help tobacco farmers transition to other crops, but with limited success, he said.

Then, in February, the council started paying farmers who stopped growing tobacco NT$600,000 per ha. Those who accepted the payment agreed not to grow or sell tobacco; or to return the money if they did.

Under the scheme, farmers willing to grow other produce can be provided with subsidies on seeds, equipment and fertilizers, the council said.

Of the 1,530 registered tobacco farmers, 1,250 have applied for the one-off payment, while 49 have applied to grow other crops, Weng said.

The council has so far paid for about 524 ha to be taken out of tobacco.

According to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, one percent of the nation’s cigarette tax revenue is used to subsidize tobacco farmers.