What’s your impression to organic food? Healthy, chemical free and environmental friendly? It’s no doubt that the intention of the organic planting is great to build a natural eco system instead of using chemicals to increase the production. However, does the regulation make sense?
According the law, all chemicals are not allowed from planting to packaging. Farmers apply organic fertilisers which the crops may not require in the field. It leads to the cost increase and least improvement of the quality. In the worst case, it may jeopardise the life of the plants. Moreover, to promise the contamination free in the farm, the barrier has to build to prevent the chemicals from the neighbours. Given mostly small farms in Taiwan, farmers may not have luxury to sacrifice the limited land for the barrier. Even though they are willing to follow the rule of the chemical free planting, they will never be able to get the organic certificate but still pass the regular pesticide residue based on the regulation. It doesn’t sound fair to me.
A sustaining environment requires nutritious soil, balanced eco system and clean water. There are lots of minerals in the soil. They are consumed by the intensive production and poor environmental protection in last few decades. The lack of these mineral elements cannot be supplied by the certified organic fertilisers. The plants may never be able to produce the quality crops anymore.
The natural eco system takes a long period of time to build. Based on the interview with professional agriculture specialists and farmers, it takes around 6 years for a tea garden. It would be a huge impact to the farmers’ income. The production decreases more than 50% comparing to conventional planting in transition to organic planting. The average production is only around 70-80% relative to conventional planting after the eco system is established. If the yield loss is included in the tea price, given the high tea production cost in Taiwan, the competitiveness in the global market may be worse.
The land of organic farms in western countries are huge. The volume of the production is also sky high, comparing to Taiwan. All the fertilisers can be made by farmers to eliminate the chance of contaminations upstream. It’s a totally different story in Taiwan due to limited land and farm scale. Farmers here can only buy the certified fertilisers. The control of upstream fertiliser producers is an unknown. I’m not really sure if the organic regulation really fits Taiwan.
In order to protect the right of farmers and consumers, and a sustaining environment, we should be responsible for next generation. We are desperate to set a high bar to design a smart planting way for the agriculture in Taiwan!
你對有機食品的認識為何？健康, 無毒, 環保愛地球？有機這概念立意良好, 耕作不用任何化學物質, 以平衡自然生態的方式來耕作, 進而達到無毒及環境永續經營的目標. 但是真的是如此嗎？
依據法律的規範, 所有化學類的相關物質都不允許進入到耕作以及後續的包裝製程. 農友們也因此購買大量但不一定是作物所需的有機肥料施作, 不僅墊高生產成本, 植株也可能因此受傷, 導致作物品質下降, 甚至衰亡. 此外, 根據有機的規範, 為了確保沒有臨田的污染, 必須建立隔離帶, 確保周圍的污染物 (ex. 農藥) 不會污染到作物. 以小農為眾的台灣, 耕作面積已相當有限, 哪裡來那麼多的空間可以築起隔離帶？即使農友們嚴格遵守有機耕作法則, 一旦被臨田農藥或大氣中的空飄物污染而被舉發, 因此受罰而得不償失！
以永續經營環境而言, 健康的植株需要具有養分的土壤, 生態平衡的環境, 以及乾淨無污染的水源等. 土壤中含有許多微量礦物成分. 隨著過度開發與耕作, 這些大地賦予的禮物漸漸消失, 雨水也沖蝕具有營養價值的養分, 然而, 這類元素卻非有機肥料能夠補充, 那如何苛求植株能夠健康茁壯？所需要的礦物質在有機耕作的框架下, 永遠缺席, 怎麼能夠栽培出健康且高品質的作物？
生態平衡是一個需要時間建立的環境. 根據訪問幾位農業專家與農友的經驗, 茶園生態完全平衡大約需要六年的時間. 對以農維生的小農們, 產生不小的壓力. 過程中, 由於茶樹的抵抗力尚未完全建立, 與慣行農法相較, 產量可能銳減至五成以下. 即使生態完全平衡, 產量也是看天吃飯. 平均也僅有七到八成. 台灣的茶葉本身耕作與製作上的成本本來就高, 若再將產量減損的成本轉嫁到消費者身上, 如何在市場端具有競爭力？
國外的有機農田, 由於土地面積大, 產量也具規模, 有機資材也有足夠空間自製, 避免外來物質的污染. 反觀國內, 寸土寸金, 自行製作有機資材彷彿如遙不可及的夢, 但收購的有機資材, 恐有在上游污染的疑慮, 尤其以動物排泄物製成的肥料. 有機的規範, 真的適合台灣嗎？
為了保障農友及消費者的健康與權益, 以及大自然的生態重建與平衡, 你我都該為下一代負責. 台灣, 需要更聰明永續的耕作方式.