AiLin Chen - Understanding Taiwanese Stakeholder Response to a New Pilot Program for Rice Deficiency Payments
By AiLin Chen
Through the support of Henry A. Jastro Research Fellowship, I have traveled to Taiwan to conduct research in August-September 2017. This research project seeks to understand and evaluate the impact of the implementation on a new agricultural rice policy, Deficiency Payment, from the perspective of rice farmers and government agricultural administrators. Rice is the most important crop in Taiwan. In 2016, the Taiwanese government have implemented a pilot program to test potential changes to one of the country’s most important agricultural policies: the government purchase program. This practice has led to an overstock of rice held by the government and a reduction in rice quality on the market as farmers began favoring rice varieties with higher yields over those with better quality. In response, under the pilot program, the government will provide deficiency payments for any income lost if farmers sell on the free market versus selling to the government. This research will develop my graduate thesis for International Agricultural Development program in UC Davis.
During this trip, I conducted surveys of major stakeholders in the Taiwanese rice market including local farmers and local administrators. I designed the questionnaires and administered it to local rice farmers in person. A total of 145 questionnaires were collected amount 6 separate locations in Taiwan, with 3 treatments and 3 control locations. I also interviewed other 6 stakeholders, including owners of local paddy nursery centers, a professor in local university, growers’ associations officials and cooperative managers. The Henry A. Jastro Graduate Research Award provided funding to compensated farmers to increase participating incentives, to purchase supplies for research activities, and for my personal travel to 6 pilot project locations in Taiwan. This research could not be conducted without this award.
Due to the newness of this pilot program, there have been no previous studies on this topic. With this research, I am working on a statistical analysis on the result of questionnaires. The result will generate insight regarding this potential new policy: how this policy process aligns with goals that the government laid out for the pilot program, and how it influences the equity and income redistribution among the rice farmers receiving the deficiency payments. I also expect to foster a clearer understanding of interaction between farmers and policy within the rice system.