Deutsche Presse-Agentur | May 12, 2011
Taipei - Taiwan is considering growing crops overseas to ensure its food security, officials said Thursday.
You Sheng-feng, deputy director of the Agriculture and Food Agency, said Taiwan should boost its food security as the world is facing a growing food crisis and soaring food prices.
'While we grow enough rice for our consumption, we rely on imports for other grains. We import 5 million tons of corn, 2.5 million tons of soya bean and 1 million tons of wheat each year,' he said.
The proposal was initially made by a Foreign Ministry-affiliated agency at a food security conference which ended Tuesday.
'Taiwan's food self-sufficiency rate is only 32 per cent, lower than than of Japan and South Korea. We hope to raise it to 40 per cent by 2020,' President Ma Ying-jeou said
The island has 400,000 tons of rice stocks, enough to feed the population for four months, but food imports could be cut if food was grown overseas, You said.
Lee Pai-po, deputy secretary general of the International Cooperation and Development Fund, said private companies could grow crops abroad with government assistance and subsidies.
'We would focus on our diplomatic allies, especially Central American and African countries,' he said.
Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China, has diplomatic ties with only 23 countries, including 12 in Latin America and the Caribbean and four in Africa.