Report: Observational Study Mission to Taiwan on Eco-Agri Innovation, September 29 to October 5, 2014

POPA delegates visit to Fengshan Tropical Horticulture Experiement Station

With the impending Asean Free Trade Agreement in 2015, the climate realities of the region and impacts of the Agrarian Reform Program have made agriculture in Region 6 a challenging endeavor. Marketing of produce, especially of smallholders sometimes becomes an exercise in futility because of the perishable nature of the products sold as well as the high requirements of supermarkets in malls. Taiwan, on the other hand, continues to be a producer of high value crops, specifically fruits and vegetables, and is able to harness economies of scale through strong marketing channels, export and processing arrangements as well as maintaining high quality of produce.

PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED

i. Low income of farmers – value adding at farm level
ii. Slow transfer of technology. Farmers are not equipped with “starter kit” and financing – “model” farm areas featuring the eco-agri- innovations that can be showcased for other farmers to adapt / replicate. These “model” farms can be agri-tourism destinations.
iii. Non-sustainable income for farmers – Production of Simple production guides featuring the eco-agri innovations
iv. ASEAN FREE TRADE ZONE opening in 2015 – Establish business relationships utilizing Philippine land and Taiwan technology. Since Taiwan is not a member of ASEAN they can benefit if agri products are manufactured in the Philippines.

The PANAY ORGANIC PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (POPA) members comprise of persons engaged in organic farming, processing and trading of organic agriculture produce.

MISSION MEMBERS (17)

1. Ruben Corpuz, Vice-Mayor, Jordan Guimaras
2. Manuel Palada, Visiting Professor
3. Romeo Pagay, Maintenance Supervisor
4. Ma. Tessie Pagay, President, Rosary Herbal Products
5. Johnny Que, President, Orchard Valley, Inc.
6. Aimee Que, CFO, Orchard Valley, Inc.
7. Jose Henares, Owner, Buro-buro Springs Vermi Farm
8. Pamela Henares, Co-owner, Buro-buro Springs Vermi Farm
9. Francisco Blas Jr., CEO, Terra Verde Integrated Eco Farm
10. Dulce Blas, CFO, Terra Verde Integrated Eco Farm
11. Carlos Sayco Jr., Vice-President, DAP
12. Tomas Hautea, Owner, Retcem Milkfish Hatchery
13. Rico Palmares Jr., President, RPJ Multi-Ventures Inc.
14. Peter Tay, CEO, SiGi Ani Farm Fresh Inc.
15. Baltazar Gumana, Administrator, San Nicolas Ridge Farm
16. Roxanne Oddie, Photojournalist
17. Dawn Rhoda Jamandre, President, Panay Organic Producers Association

REMEDIAL MEASURES LIKELY TO BE UNDERTAKEN

i. Become a center of excellence in Green Productivity
ii. Selection of high value vegetables and crops which can be grown in Panay
iii. Learn and observe AVRDC vegetable germplasm collection
iv. Understand linkage between research, development, and practical applications for production and marketing in the Philippine setting
v. Visit and view TARI’s projects on protective cultivation
vi. Gain insights on how academe contributes to the GDP of a small country
vii. Observe organic vegetable research and production
viii. Visit greenhouse vegetable production and research plots
ix. Observe firsthand how academe impacts technology.
x. Observe organic agriculture research projects
xi. Appreciate the farmers’ methods of marketing their own produce
xii. View various varieties and types of fruits and vegetables sold and traded in the market.
xiii. Learn linkage between production and market chain of various commodities.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS OF THE MISSION ON THE PROGRAMS IMPLEMENTIED IN THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA (TAIWAN) WITH REFERENCE TO

a. FORMULATION OF PROGRAMS – Very applicable to Philippine situation. Because of the close proximity of Taiwan to the Philippines, weather, crops and even climate change patterns are similar.

b. PHYSICAL ARRNGEMENTS – Beyond expectations! All organizations, private and Government establishments visited received the mission in a formal and dignified manner. The mission members were accompanied by very competent staff of the CPC (Yi Tin Wu, Jennifer Chen and Grace Chen) who were very professional, courteous and knowledgeable. The interpretation services were very much appreciated. Comfortable accommodations close to the shopping centers and MRT access were selected with the needs of the mission members in mind.

c. PRESENTTION ON MAIN THEMES – Excellent because the Taiwan agriculture has succeeded in its food security and sustainability, and their exceptional cuisine.

d. VISITS TO ORGANIZATIONS AND INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES – All organizations and establishments visited received the mission with openness and readily shared their best practices, observations and technology

e. GREAT FOOD SELECTIONS. Very Impressive! We never ate the same food item twice. Each restaurant showcased their signature delicious style of cooking which was locally produced and done right for a reasonable price. Good value for money. Truly a winning showcase of Taiwan’s “farm to fork” success in business excellence through Eco-Agri Innovations.

COA Executive Yuan

INFORMATION, IF ANY ON THE APPLICABILITY OR ADAPTBIITY OF THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED THROUGH THE VISIT IN THE SITUATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

A. ASEAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IN 2015, – quality product, processing, branding innovations

a. Become a center of Excellence in Green Productivity – The goal of the APO’s COE (Center of Excellence) initiative is to enhance the strength and expertise of each member country in specific area (Business Excellence in the Case of Taiwan), enabling it to reach world class standards from which it can serve as a vehicle to lead development of similar capabilities of the other member countries.

b. The internet is used as a platform to disseminate information on green productivity such as recycling, green energy, eco-agriculture, green labeling, etc.

c. Council On Agriculture – EXECUTIVE YUAN – The Government of Taiwan sets the critical level of farmlands and maintains them for quality & quantity. The Executive Yuan gives a goal for support to farmers through technology, machinery and subsidy for young farmers. They encourage large farms and even subsidize rentals so that young people can operate at least 100 hectares for production. These Young Farmers have to qualify by arranging land through farmers’ associations, attend farmers’ college and obtain production loans. Young farmers may have only 1 ha for high value crops. Government gives subsidies for farm machineries to young farmers who want to become big producers, say 100 ha.

d. Farmers are tax free under Taiwan law because the cost of production is 100% so they have no profits.

B. THE CLIMATE REALITIES OF THE REGION

Innovations include greenhouses and net houses; hydroponics is being developed as a fallback position for times of typhoons or natural calamities when soil is lost or damaged.

C. IMPACTS OF THE AGRARIAN REFORM PROGRAM

Aging farmers are a serious problem average age is 62. Very good welfare system for old farmers – get $250 per month but not too good for agriculture. Large tenant program for young farmers are subsidized. Today about 100,000 ha being tilled by young farmers and they can grow anything except rice because government has a program for rice procurement. Taiwan has rice surplus; The Government knows that small land holdings are inefficient and cannot be productive. Young farmers are being supported with technology and subsidies. The strategy is to force farmers to grow only 1 crop of rice per year and get a subsidy for 1 crop only. The farmer is encouraged to grow other crops. This is motivation for the aging farmer to have his land leased so it continues to be productive. . Aging farmers do not want to sell the land. “Only people who lose money gambling sell their farmlands.”

D. MARKETING OF PRODUCE

Especially of smallholders sometimes becomes an exercise in futility because of the perishable nature of the products sold as well as the high requirements of supermarkets in malls.

D.1 LEISURE FARM – A complex business model. Nice location “Tagaytay type” weather.

D.2 TRADE SHOW – showing endless possibilities of innovation. Open to the public. New products can be introduced and sampled, and dealers found to enhance profitability for the producers.

D.3 MUSHROOM TRIBE – Mushroom production facility whose main attraction is the mushroom hotpot meal. A short tour of the production facilities is available for a fee. Gift shop and do-it-yourself craft section for children are also available.

The Mushroom Tribe

D.4 THE ASSOCIATION OF TAIWAN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE PROMOTION:

Taiwan gives subsidy for certification every 3 years. 35,000 NT but every year 15,000 NT. Farmers pay the certifying body which the government reimburses. These days, the Government only refunds 70% because of increase of number of organic farms; Organic fertilizers cost 2.50 NT per kg but government gives some subsidy. Green houses, agri machinery and technology through short courses are also subsidized. Marketing assistance is also provided by subsidized space in supermarkets. About 2,988 organic farmers have been subsidized over 28 years but are still small scale; The people of Taiwan are health conscious. Total vegetable area is bigger than rice production area. . Once a week, children in school are fed organic vegetables; Organic products must be certified. A fine of NT$ 30,000 to 1 M is imposed If the claim is not backed up by certification on display; Organic product is 2.5 times more expensive but it is market – driven. The government gets sample of organic products and sends then for analysis every year. There are 13 certifying bodies: 12 for crop production;

D.5 TENHA ORGANIC FARM

1. Established nine years ago, this 16 ha farm receives visitors but does not promote tourism. It has about 40 types of products and 400 tons of organic produce per year. Work process is like a plant – work flow, process, sales & distribution. The farm pools together the effort of org farmers to achieve promotion of org farming. It is involved in business & distribution-part of a chain of business dev production and distribution. Planting is based on the orders and confirmation as well as a schedule for planting. In planting consider seasons, temperature and yield of veggies.

2. The managers enter into contact with other small farmers especially in summer when production is low. Land is leased.

3. Three certificates are required for (1) org produce packaging (2) chicken and (3) chicken eggs. Traceability is important for organic farming as to farm, area, harvest records. Organic certification for chicken is difficult. 80% of feeds have to be organic. Secondary products are fed to the chickens. Only 2 certificates have been issued for organic chicken and they are the first.

4. Organic farming starts with soil, crop rotation, other soil amelioration. Greatest diff bet org farming is non spraying of insecticides. They make their own compost, liquid fertilizer green manure. Predators are used to control pests. Records show that the level of org matter increases per year and the volume of harvest increases accordingly. Water improvement – ground water is pumped and passed through plants, filtered, passed through a sedimentation process moved to larger containers then drawn by green houses for usage. Use insect or disease resistant seeds to increase yield. Grafting Is used especially for tomatoes and eggplants. Aphids are controlled by lady bugs that eat aphids. Lady bugs traps are made from corn which are infested with aphids. The eggs which hatch into worms which eat the insects. Traps used are sticky paper or pheromones. . After vegetables in the greenhouses are harvested, chickens are released into the area to eat grass, bugs, etc Grass in The chickens take a week to clean up a greenhouse. Final weeding is done by machines if necessary. Geese also eat grass. Plastic / paper sheets are used to control grass in the cleared greenhouses.

D.6 NCHU ORGANIC FARMERS MARKET

1. First organic market with longest and largest scale of operations. The strategy was to counteract distribution channels through intermediaries or middlemen. Integration of produce from different producers. Producers have direct contact with their buyers. Space rental in university 2 kinds of fee: NT$300 to 500 weekly plus 5% sales which goes to public fund.

2. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) another alternative – the buyers tell the producers what they would like and delivery dates are set. Direct contact: fast cash, sensitive to needs, but less time to rest and they do not make more money. Competitive advertising lowers marketing cost. There is no limit to the amount of produce sold. Producers can do business with organic stores. Farmers are now entrepreneurs as well. Buyers trust this market more. Producers have to synchronize production schedules so that they do not run out of produce. Producers have to sell their own produce

3. Weather, holidays, News events, impact on sales of farmers. The Market Organizaers create events for visitation groups, flea markets, etc. Promotions include helping elementary schools organize organic food events because correct formation of diet habits will affect choice of foods.

4. Certified products are sold under a corporate structure. For certification, – COA provides accreditation. 5 steps and each step is certified: (1) Production (2) Processing.(3) Distribution.(4) Packaging and (5)sales. The producers decide on the role they want to play, and obtain the necessary certifications. Positive listing is employed were the government gives list of only what can be used. This positive list is available on the COA Website. During transition product has to bear that label fine NT$100,000 1 label only. Benchmarking is done through “lottery” where the consumers identify the products to be tested. The Foundation involves CERTIFIERS. There are 13 certifying bodies right that provide:

a. Impartial third party certification system
b. 2 yrs for certification of the land
c. Certification covers entire farm
d. 2 labels issued by national and another by certifying agency
e. Labels have to follow certain protocols
f. 3 yrs transition period for some cases

First organic make with longest and largest scale of operations. Counteract distribution channels through intermediaries or middlemen.

First organic make with longest and largest scale of operations. Counteract distribution channels through intermediaries or middlemen.

D.7 TAIWAN AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS AND TOXIC SUBSTANCES RESEARCH INSTITUTE, COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURE, EXECUTIVE YUAN

Locally produced and imported biopesticides are used and tested at the institute. Less than 10% of pesticides is biopesticide. Challenge is how to substitute with bio pesticide because we are in a free market and both farmers and consumers have to be educated.

E. HIGH VALUE CROPS, SPECIFICALLY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, SELECTION OF HIGH VALUE VEGETABLES AND CROPS WHICH CAN BE GROWN IN PANAY

E.1 FENGSHAN TROPICAL HORTICULTURE EXPERIMENT STATION (Kaoshiung Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute)

a. Papaya Tainong variety, wax apple (macopa), guava and mango
b. Bending of the papaya because in Taiwan papaya are grown in net houses but only up to 4 meters. Chop down female trees and let hermaphrodite bear fruit – it has thicker flesh
c. To stimulate business, the research centers do not sell seeds, they refer the farmers to a sub-sector that specializes in seeds.

E.2 TAINAN DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION. STATION COA

a. 30% of Taiwanese are farmers
b. Peanut Tainan #11
c. Soybean 4 6 7 for crop cover green manure
d. Horticulture crops: Mango, orange, Pomelo, and papaya are species that can be grown in Panay; Vegetable crops; Asparagus, crucifers, tomatoes. Asia Tainan 1, 2 3 4; Cherry tomatoes yellow cherry tomato 12; Cabbage;

E.2 LINK WITH AVRDC (the largest germplasm gene bank in the world)

Women are at the forefront of vegetable trading then family has veggies to eat. This probably explains why the farmers have to market driven. Accessions help develop varieties for where ever they are needed, with the necessary genetic traits for specific environments. Seeds can be accessed and used for business or for NGO but cannot claim patent. The center advocates eating 400 gm veggies every day or equivalent to the weight of a soccer ball. (Please see the presentation).

E.3 INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

a. MING DAO UNIVERTSITY’S Agricultural research is continuous and is available to farmers. Farmers capitalize on the research support and improve their crops, yields, income and their standard of living. Flyer is attached.
b. National Pingtung University of Science and Technology has an international program and cooperation on technology.

F. HARNESS ECONOMIES OF SCALE THROUGH STRONG MARKETING CHANNELS, EXPORT AND PROCESSING ARRANGEMENTS

F.1 PINGTUNG AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY PARK

The complex is where cutting edge science and technology are packaged for high value markets. It includes restaurants, testing, packaging and customs facilities to facilitate import and export of products. Agri-Eco Innovation at its finest. A high technology agricultural center of industry, emphasizing business excellence. (Please see attached flyer)

F.2 XILOU AGRI MARKETING CO (a 100-year old farmers’ association)

a. 50 years operation at present site. Policy drives the service of the association. This is modified from time to time as necessary to foster growth and innovation. Trading operations are continues. Farmers bring their harvest to the assn. Veggies from near villages & townships are sent in. Price negotiations are done in the marketing assn for a small fee. It serves as a one stop venue for shopping adapting to the fast and economic patterns of today’s lifestyle. They have their own Credit assn where farmers save & borrow money. They have insurance dept which covers farmers & livestock. 6400 members of 30,000 farmers. More than 4000 groups producing vegetables. 65% of profit yearly to be used for promotion annually of the association. Members can participate in electing 45 representatives 9 governors 3 managing directors. governors , 500 NT$ 1 time membership fee, non-profit, not a cooperative. The Government provides some subsidies for tools. Market 4 ha 6 ha parking lots, offices, etc. Cold storage is available on site per section depending on the veggies.

b. Farmers bring sample of produce for testing. if the samples are over pesticide allowable limit, they cannot harvest or sell. Results are out within 3 hours. The association does a good job as gatekeeper for safe food.

c. Produce japonica-type rice varieties. They create beauty ,skin care and soap products using rice. Rice varieties are diff from other areas – last year they won the national rice competition.

d. This market can supply 50 to 60 % of vegetables in Taiwan. Daily volume is 1000 tons; there is a very small percentage of imported veggies. Farmers assn 70% veggies green houses rest in net house not organic. 2 ha under nethouses can yield 40 tons per month leafy veggies.

e. Milk produced by farmers & bottled by the national association.

Xilou Agri Marketing Co. farm produce

G. MAINTAINING HIGH QUALITY OF PRODUCE

G.1 TAINAN DISTRICT AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION. STATION COA

a. Technology has been developed for forced air cooling to decrease temperature to prolong shelf life of vegetables.
b. Lettuce post harvest treatments also prolong shelf life and increase quality.

G.2 TAIWAN BANANA RESEARCH INSTITUTE (Dr. Chin-Ping Chao. Director)

a. Instruct farmers when to direct harvest so as to get best price. Strategies are developed to manage the overproduction in summer

b. Although the Philippines has taken over largely Japan market, the Institute continues to battle the epidemic of fusarium wilt and Panama disease

c. Tissue culture (TC) plant lets with homogenous growing condition and high survival rate.

d. Emphasis is on agro safety – GAP is a MUST for banana exporters. Traceability systems are mandatory but expensive. These are tests for heavy metals, water quality. Their system of corporate farming, harvest, etc copied from Stanfilco, Australia

e. Organic bananas: Soil very important and must be protected. Liming is done with CaCO3, weeds are left on the soil surface. Palm bunch ash from Palm oil is used as a soil conditioner. Infected plants are not uprooted- they are allowed to die there. They do not use vermicast. Bamboo poles are used to prop up the banana bunches. Bamboo used is a different species.

The Institute continues to battle the epidemic of fusarium Wilt and Panama disease.

Although the Philippines has taken over largely Japan market, the Institute continues to battle the epidemic of fusarium Wilt and Panama disease.

H. RECOMMENDATIONS, IF ANY, FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT OF SUCH PROGRAMS IN THE FUTURE BY APO

a. Request technical experts from Taiwan to assist the set up of pilot production areas in Panay for plantation crops such as papaya, banana, pineapple, etc. with appropriate post harvest and processing technology.

b. Request technical assistance to pilot young farmer concept for land reformed areas to demonstrate economies of scale in selected areas in Panay.

c. Request Technical experts to set up modernization program with private sector for Mechanization using Taiwan technology

SUBMITTED BY

DAWN RHODA M. JAMANDRE
President
Panay Organic Producers Association

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s