75% of farms ‘il­le­gal,’ ban­ning to pro­ceed in May, says COA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY STEPHANIE CHAO

The Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture (COA,

) an­nounced yes­ter­day that it will con­tinue to push for­ward amend­ing reg­u­la­tions on set­ting up and man­ag­ing farms, and is pre­par­ing to launch a na­tion­wide con­fer­ence at the be­gin­ning of May in or­der to tackle the is­sue and ban il­le­gally con­structed farms.

The Min­istry of the In­te­rior (MOI, ) re­ported that while 2,554 farms out of the 28,405 na­tion­wide have been deemed il­le­gal, only 108 farms have been in­spected by the cities and coun­ties. Twenty of th­ese passed in­ves­ti­ga­tions, while 82 farms were found to be il­le­gal. That means 75.9 per­cent of the farms that have been in­spected were found to breach reg­u­la­tions.

Chen Jung- chun ( ) of the Soil and Wa­ter Con­ser­va­tion Bureau’s Ru­ral Di­vi­sion (

), had lo­cal gov­ern­ments in­ves­ti­gate il­le­gal farms at the end of last year with to en­sure that they com­plied with rules on build­ing farms on agri­cul­tural land. Yet so far, only half of the cities and coun­ties have re­ported back.

Among the city and county gov­ern­ments that have re­ported back are Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taichung, Changhua, Chi­ayi County and City, Tainan, Kaoh­si­ung, Taitung, Penghu, Kin­men, Matsu and Keelung, of­fi­cials said.

Chen pointed out that vi­o­la­tions in­clude il­le­gal con­struc­tion of farms, ex­ces­sive fences, unau­tho­rized con­tain­ers, il­le­gal metal huts, con­crete paving, garages, fac­to­ries, lay­ing down land­scap­ing grass and ponds and a lack of crops.

City and county gov­ern­ments should work within ex­ist­ing re­gional plan­ning and ur­ban plan­ning guide­lines and re­lated na­tional park laws to reg­u­late or pe­nal­ize op­er­a­tors. Penal­ties range from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000, said Chen.

“While the COA can­not ter­mi­nate a farm­ing build­ings’ us­age li­cense, it is pos­si­ble for us to re­peal the owner’s farmer sta­tus. A per­son can­not con­struct any farm build­ings with­out a farm­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion,” Chen ex­plained.

Au­thor­i­ties re­port that many of the il­le­gal farms are con­cen­trated in Yi­lan and Miaoli County. Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter

) Chen Bao- ji ( ) re­ported that Yi­lan has the most il­le­gally con­structed farms in Tai­wan at a to­tal of 7,551, ac­cord­ing to Yi­lan gov­ern­ment statis­tics from 2000 to 2014.

There were nearly 5,000 farms sold off or trans­ferred and 64 per­cent of the farms were trans­ferred to other own­ers af­ter con­struc­tion, to­tal­ing 2,094 cases. Chen said many of the farms in Yi­lan are in­volved in busi­ness deal­ings, ac­cord­ing to long- and short-term statis­tics.

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