Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Taiwan's organic farms are expected tocompose 5,000 hectares, or 0.6 percent, of the country's totalagricultural land by 2012, Agriculture and Food AgencyDirector-General Chen Wen-deh said Friday.
The area for organic farming totaled 2,300 hectares at the end of2008 and amounted to 2,960 hectares by the end of 2009.
As of this April, nearly 1,399 households in the country hadbecome involved in organic farming and 3,150 hectares, or about 0.38percent of the nation's farmland, were dedicated to organic crops,agency statistics showed.
The Council of Agriculture has accredited 13 non-governmentgroups as organic product certification organizations. This year,labeling checks will be conducted on 3,000 organic products andquality inspections on 1,800 organic items, Chen said.
With the small sizes of Taiwan's farms, chemical pesticides caneasily find their way from nearby plots into the soil of organicfarms, Chen noted, saying that the government has designated fourzones covering 262 hectares for organic production in Tainan County,Kaohsiung County and Hualien County. It plans to set aside more areasin Pingtung, Chiayi and Yunlin counties, Chen said.
The council will also help organic farmers in the zones selltheir products at science parks, elementary and middle schools, andholiday markets through various sales distribution systems, Chenadded.
To promote research and development of organic fertilizer, theagency plans to publish certified organic fertilizer brands on itsWeb site beginning in June. At present, there are about 500 types oforganic fertilizer on the market, according to the agency.
(By Yang Su-min and Y.L. Kao)