|In 2005, the government's agricultural and horticultural policies were focused on carrying out a follow-up project on adjusting the utilization of wetlands and drylands, promoting the modernization and computerization of the transportation and marketing of agricultural products, developing organic farm products and enhance the production and sales risk management, among others.
The production volume and prices of agricultural and horticultural products were significantly affected by several factors in 2005, including the lingering effect of liberalized imports of agricultural products, the rising international prices for agricultural products, and such natural disasters as typhoons, heavy rainfalls, and cold fronts.
Last year, Taiwan's paddy rice growing space amounted to 273,000 hectares, up 35,000 hectares from 2004, and its total output of unpolished rice came to 1.2 million metric tons, up 3.3%. The production of such miscellaneous grain crops as corns and sorghum continued to drop last year, while the farming areas of sugar canes, tobacco and tea also dropped. The overall production volume of fruits declined, especially grape, mango, banana, and guava, while the farming space and production volume of vegetables such as scallion, Chinese cabbage and cauliflower decreased, and those of onion, sweet potatoes, and cabbage increased.
In 2005, the wholesale price index for agricultural and horticultural crops surged 3.6% from 2004 due mainly to the decline in domestic agricultural production. The paddy rice prices rose 4.22%, the prices of miscellaneous grain crops dropped 15.2%, vegetable prices shot up 40.7%, fruit prices inflated 22.9% and the prices of flowering plants advanced 5.0%.
In terms of trade, imports of agricultural and horticultural products posted an annual rise of 7.1% to reach US$5.57 billion in 2005, with import items mainly corn, wheat, barley, sorghum and soybeans. Exports saw a lower annual growth of 3.1% to reach US$730 million, with fruits, vegetables and flowering plants as main export items.