Taiwan’s gentlemen farmers
Unlike the farmers on the Chinese mainland who are generally illiterate and mostly uneducated, and who over use banned pesticides and fertilizers, Taiwan’s farmers are middle aged gentlemen farmers who hold degrees from foreign universities, who are multilingual and fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, English, and who practice a very strict form of eco-friendly and environmentally friendly organic farming without using any chemical pesticides nor chemical fertilizers.
Some have even turned their farms into tourist destinations and demonstration farms in organic farming.
Many of them say that success does not depend on making a lot of profit. Sustainability of the land and the quality of water are of foremost importance. Sustained survivability of the crops is more important than quick profits using chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Beneficial insects and animals are introduced to maintain integrity of the crops and in combating destructive insects. Overgrowth is controlled by pruning and weeding.
Chinese Communist premier Li Keqiang recently talked about “agricultural industrialization”. However, the only “industrialized” operation on Taiwanese farms involves mechanized harvesting with small harvesters. And even after the devastation by typhoons, the yields of Taiwan’s small organic plots have remained relatively high. Many of these smaller organic farming plots are used to teach organic farming techniques to students, and farming is often a cooperative effort. Older farmers-landowners often rent a portion of their land to these young gentlemen farmers, and many older farmers who always believed in the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers have now learned to farm differently without the use of any such chemicals.