Government efforts in expanding agricultural ties with New Southbound Policy target countries are paying handsome dividends, as reflected in the increased bilateral exchanges and exports since the official launch of the NSP in September 2016, according to the Council of Agriculture.
The latest government statistics underscore the effectiveness of the policy to date, the COA said. Shipments to NSP target countries climbed 9.91 percent to US$1.62 billion in 2018 after gaining 5.21 percent the year before.
Among the major growth items, citrus fruit surged 74 percent, followed by tea, 51 percent; butterfly orchids, 25 percent; agricultural chemicals, 23 percent; and agricultural machinery, 22 percent.
This upswing is also reflected in increasing exchanges between Taiwan and the NSP target countries, the COA said. More than 250 nationals traveled to Taiwan last year to study or take part in agricultural training programs, as well as the 500-plus visits by agricultural personnel from both sides for professional exchanges.
The COA also teamed up with its Indonesian counterpart in June 2018 to set up a demonstration farm project. Located in the Karawang Regency, the initiative aims to train farmers in modern duck and rice farming techniques.
In March and April this year, respectively, the COA also collaborated with the Philippines and Vietnam in launching two cooperation projects. The former is a mushroom demo farm in Baguio city, and the latter a rice seed and fruit tree seedling production center in Long An province.
According to the COA, other achievements include the establishment of two vegetable food reserve bases in Indonesia spanning 100 hectares and assisting Kaohsiung City-based Techs Technology Co. Ltd. in southern Taiwan to commercialize an agricultural waste treatment system for export to Indonesia and Malaysia.
A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the NSP seeks to deepen agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. (SFC-E)
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