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Agriculture losses from cold spell estimated at NT$100.91 million

2018/01/21 18:32:37

File photo/photo courtesy of Agriculture Bureau of Kaohsiung City government

Taipei, Jan. 21 (CNA) The estimated agricultural losses resulting from a three-day cold spell that hit Taiwan from Jan. 8 had reached NT$100.91 million (US$3.61 million) as of Jan. 19, according to statistics released Friday by the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Damaged crops made up the bulk of the losses, totaling NT$84.96 million over 1,382 hectares of farmland. Especially hard-hit were tomatoes and bell fruit, followed by citrus and jujube.

Kaohsiung suffered the heaviest agricultural losses around Taiwan, with damage estimated at NT$2.41 million, followed by Hsinchu County, which reported NT$1.85 million-worth of losses.

As of late 2017, Taiwan had devoted 3,800 hectares of farmland for bell fruit cultivation, including 2,800 hectares in Pingtung County, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said, citing COA data.

The cold snap has forced farmers to harvest bell fruit earlier than usual before they could be damaged, resulting in a sharp fall in the price of the fruit.

Despite this, bell fruit farmers are not eligible to receive compensation from the COA to mitigate their losses, according to COA regulations governing relief subsidies for farmers affected by natural disasters, Chuang said.

He suggested that the COA lower the standard for eligibility to allow farmers affected by the cold weather to receive compensation.

The agricultural losses also included NT$15.95 million-worth of losses in the fishery sector as of Jan. 19, according to the COA data.

COA officials are still compiling statistics, according to Chuang.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Evelyn Kao)
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