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Mayor Visits Growers to Inspect the Supply Conditions of Organic Vegetables

The 2019 Taiwan Annual at the EXPO Dome Mayor Ko Wen-je visited growers in Yunlin County on September 1 to inspect the supply conditions of organic vegetables that are used in school lunches in September. After harvesting, the organic vegetables are pre-refrigerated and delivered to organic-certified processing factories in refrigerated trucks, where they are washed at low temperature and cut before being delivered to kitchens or schools in refrigerated trucks to ensure their optimal freshness.

As of September, Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation (TAPMC) will supply organic vegetables for about 222 junior high school and elementary school lunches in Taipei City, serving approximately 110,000 elementary school students and 50,000 junior high school students – totaling 160,000 people. As of the academic year starting September 2019, organic vegetables will be supplied at least once a week. Each student is given approximately 80-100g of organic vegetables per meal, with a total of 15 tons of organic vegetables supplied every week.

In response to vegetable orders from 222 schools in Taipei City, as well as numerous logistics and cash flow procedures involving contract farming, tallying, cutting, delivering, checking and accepting, and payment, the TAPMC has formed a task group and digital information system-based food supply platform to implement food traceability.

To look after small organic farmers, the TAPMC openly selected 8 suppliers and roughly 130 contract farmers. Furthermore, their produce will be purchased at guaranteed prices, and the payment is remitted to the contract farmers’ account every week so as to guarantee the farmers’ income. Before the semester begins in September, TAPMC has already dispatched personnel to inspect the contract farmers’ fields and conduct sample testing; organic vegetables sent to the processing plant are also tested using the latest mass spectrometry techniques, and inferior products are immediately rejected to ensure food safety and organic integrity.

The mayor commented that since adopting organic vegetables for school lunches in Taipei City, children are able to enjoy healthier, safer food with peace of mind. Since Greater Taipei is the biggest market for agricultural products in Taiwan, it is therefore able to encourage farmers to grow safer, higher-quality produce through consumption, in turn increasing their income.