On 29 July 2021, The Trade Council of Denmark in Taipei, Taiwan Livestock Research Institute, and Circular Taiwan Network (CTN) co-hosted a webinar, exploring pathways to reach net zero agriculture. Taiwanese and Danish stakeholders were invited to share their knowledge and experiences, and to discuss prospects in transforming Taiwanese agriculture and ultimately attaining the net-zero goal by 2050. The webinar was opened by Taiwan’s Agriculture Minister Mr. Chi-Chung Chen and Mr. Bo Mønsted, Director of the Trade Council of Denmark in Taipei.
Minister Chen of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) stated that although the agricultural sector accounts for less than 2% of the country’s carbon emissions, the council spares no effort in reducing carbon emissions. For example, with COA’s promotion and efforts, oil consumption of fishing vessels has been reduced by 74% since 2000, based on the mileage of the voyage recorder. Another example is the promotion of biogas in the livestock industry: manure from 2.5 million pigs had been converted into 6MW electricity power—enough to supply 10,000 households while reducing 59,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.
On reducing the usage of chemical fertilizers, the average annual figure has dropped from 1.146 million metric tons to 948,000 metric tons. A reduction of 10,000 metric tons of chemical fertilizers would reduce approximately 5,200 metric tons of CO2 emissions. In addition, the agricultural sector actively supports the deployment of renewable energy by installing solar power panels on the rooftops of livestock houses and on uncultivated land. By the end 2020, the cumulative installed capacity is 1,661MW, accounting for nearly 30% of the national solar photovoltaic power generation, and more than 50% of the agricultural sector's electricity consumption.
The Minister welcomed further dialogues and collaboration with Denmark in achieving net zero while boosting the value of the agricultural sector.
Mr. Bo Mønsted emphasized the value of farmers as CEOs, the agricultural sector as one of the keys to reduce emissions, and the need for public-private and international collaborations. The Director also shared that targets sometimes appeared impossible to meet at the time they were set, but Denmark could serve as a good example--where real changes had taken place, as it allowed the private sector to develop and apply new technologies. This webinar also served as a clear indication that both Denmark and Taiwan are keen to forge closer collaboration in technology, consumer behavior research, education and training, and policy areas.
CTN Chairperson Charles Huang talked about resource sharing between Taiwan and Denmark through piloting and pioneering CC4CC initiatives*. He also encouraged all participants by stating that “together we can lead the change” within the livestock industry. He suggested future cooperation could be on co-commission research, sharing best practices and policy experiences, and seminars and workshops to accelerate the CC4CC initiatives.
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Niels Peter Nørring, Climate Director of Danish Agriculture and Food Council, shared a helicopter view of the Danish actions to achieve the 2050 net-zero goal. He highlighted the importance of research efforts, and shared current cutting-edge technologies from Denmark, as well as stressing partnerships as a key to success. He stressed Denmark as a valuable partner--“small country, big difference”.
Sussie Ketit, Regional Director of a leading Danish livestock technology company SKIOLD. She presented a circular pig production economy system by using SMART technology, digitalization, and data collection, and showcased a real example of a modern low-carbon Danish design pig farm in Taiwan.
Mr. Carsten Friis Poulsen, Head of International Division, and Mr. Niels Erik Jespersen, International Relations Officer of Dalum Academy of Agriculture Business gave their input on the importance of a sustainability mindset on the educational agenda and the role of generational responsibility. These two panelists emphasized that the key to success is to communicate and employ a holistic approach, and to engage the society to take up their share of responsibilities.
Ms. Mei-Ping Cheng, Executive Secretary of Taiwan Livestock Research Institute presented Taiwan’s blueprint and accomplishments in promoting net-zero agriculture. She outlined 5 strategies of Taiwan’s efforts in reducing carbon emissions, including developing policy measures to drive the change.
Mr. Scott Chen of Hanbo Livestock and Farming Taiwan, the front-runner in national carbon credit projects, shared their successful circular economy model.
All speakers stressed the importance of focusing on a new circular agricultural model, especially on looking at the whole agricultural value chain from farmer to consumer, as well as taking a holistic view on national collaboration between demand, supply, and governmental roles, and on global collaboration between countries, sectors, and industries.