In Linbian Township (Pingtung), the Council of Agriculture has designated a 495 hectare (1223 acre) property, which partially overlaps cultivation land, as an "unfavorable farming zone” so that it can be used for green energy development. However, director of the county government’s Promotion Office of Green Energy, Ho Shao-Kang, believes that since the local government has a better understanding of the current conditions of the land, such zoning should be initiated by local governments.
The 495 hectares “unfavorable farming zone” marked off by the Council of Agriculture (Executive Yuan) in Linbian is the first of its type – and the fact that it overlaps with a designated cultivation zone has caused uncertainty among local residents who wonder if they will be able to continue their work after the rezoning. One local cultivator, surnamed Chen, expressed his desire to keep cultivating, saying that he isn’t interested in getting into green energy.
Meanwhile, in the subsidence zone of the neighboring township of Jiadong, there are many residents hoping for an “unfavorable farming zone” designation. DPP legislator, Su Chen-ching, points out that there is plenty of land in Jiadong which is unsuitable for farming as a result subsidence, but there have been no notices designating these areas as unfavorable farming zones. Local residents have also reacted, expressing their desire to apply for photoelectric business projects, but they don’t know what the conditions are that need to be met for approval. Clearly there is a need for a positive listing.
Ho Shao-Kang explained that the zoning for unfavorable farming does not necessitate the land be used for green energy. It just means that the owners of the land have one more option.
It is his opinion, however, that it would be more appropriate if the local governments first draw out the “unfavorable farming zones” and then petition the Council of Agriculture for ratification. After all, the local governments have a better understanding of which plots of land are suitable for such zoning, with knowledge on the current conditions of the land, Taiwan Power Company’s capability of hooking up feeder cables to the grid, the county government’s land planning and usage, and the attitudes of locals. These all need to be accounted for if one hopes to increase chances of success.
Ho Shao-Kang said that, currently, the unfavorable farmland in the country is universally not being developed. Pingtung has over 4000 hectares of subsidence zones and at this time the Council of Agriculture has only designated 495 hectares of unfavorable land – this is well behind the progress schedule that the county government has planned out for green energy.
Translation from CNA news article: