In Taiwan the government runs a set-aside program for farmland under which large quantities of farmland lie fallow. In some years the amount set aside exceeds the amount planted in rice (!). This program has come under much criticism, since sometimes farmland becomes unusable after being set aside and land lying uncared for invites pests that affect nearby farms. This results in abandoned land, 50,000 hectares by one 2004 estimate. When land leaves the market, it drives up the price of remaining land, pushing up rents -- and many farmers are renters, not owners. Further, for many observers it makes little sense to set aside good farmland in the lowlands while permitting farming on slopes. The set aside program is also driven by shortages of water, diverted for industrial and residential needs. Everything is exacerbated by the lack of government oversight and monitoring, a persistent problem in all areas of government policy in Taiwan.The result of all this is graphically demonstrated by the image above.
- Some members of the Atayal community of Smangus, a popular ecotourism destination, have apparently been busted cutting down ancient trees on other tribes' lands and selling them.
- China defense minister to visit US to strengthen mil-mil ties. After twenty years of strengthening, shouldn't the ties be like iron? What? No?
- Meanwhile US triples military aid to Philippines
- Alan Romberg's article on the recent elections in Taiwan
- Scott Simon: One China as a floating signifier
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