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Meet the Farmer Series 6 - Mr. Wu Chengfu from Peifang Integrated Organic Farm, Taoyuan.

(Mandarin version at bottom)


Lyfegreen works with more than 100 smallholder farms across Taiwan, supporting them both directly and via our collaborations with various Taiwan organic and sustainable farming NGOs and social enterprises. So each week, we rotate the farms that we work with, which allows us to constantly bring you different organic veggies and fruits to try. Some of these farmers operate tiny plots of land and literally grow only one type of veggie or fruit – such as the Hsiu family who brought you the delicious Earl’s Muskmelon this week. So when it comes time for packing, we need the support of larger farms with the expertise, manpower and facilities to handle our large and complex orders each week. We call these farmers the “big dragon”. And they demonstrate why the organic farming community is such a close-knit and supportive family as they happily agree to lend their resources to help us prepare, package and sell not only their own produce but those of our smaller farmers, who we call the “small dragons” or 小龍.



We want to introduce you to one of our big dragons – the Wu family of Peifang Organic Farm. Mr Wu is a third-generation farmer who grew up admiring his father’s sweaty, sun-baked skin, feeling that it was “very manly”. He recalls graduating from Chiayi Agricultural College, with many people feeling “if you want to be a farmer, why bother going to university, you could have started from middle school”. However, Mr. Wu firmly believes that scientific knowledge and further education is key to improving agricultural techniques and better understanding the causes and consequences of the planting process. He never wanted to settle.


When talking about why agriculture fascinates him, Mr Wu’s voice is full of energy: “It’s all about the process, from preparing the land to planting vegetables, everything is from nothing, and even the customers give joyful feedback after eating the vegetables. The whole process is exciting and joyful.”


Of course, each stage of this process will face unique challenges, says Mr Wu: “at the beginning, it is difficult to find out how to plant it. If it can be planted, it will be difficult to sell it. When it can be sold, one will worry about insufficient output, insufficient funds, limitations on expansion and so forth.”


Organic agriculture in particular is challenging and subject to many cases of force majeure outside of his control such as natural disasters, climate change and insect pests. “New farmers trying to convert to organic methods ask me all the time, what can I do? I am working at 100% but still the harvest output is only 30%”, smiled Mr Wu, “I try to encourage them and remind them that 30-40% is already very good!”

Mr Wu emphasizes that this is a challenging profession. At the beginning, the hardship is physical: squatting all day, carrying heavy loads etc. However, over time, the test becomes mental, as one endures bad harvests and failure. He recalls that of all his classmates at the Chiayi Agricultural College, only 10% remain in farming. “The average age of Taiwanese farmers is over 58 years old” says Mr Wu. When he first entered the industry, he was only 22 years old. At that time, he thought, "If I do it seriously, I can at least lead the show in 10 years time!”


Asked about the secrets of success, Mr. Wu says modestly that whatever small successes he’s achieved should be attributed to the fact that everything can be "painless like tonic" and his mentality that there’s "no other choice". “If there are too many options in life, it is not easy to calm down and solve the difficulties” says Mr Wu, “because there are not too many other runways to change, it makes me stick to this road and figure it out”


These days, Mr Wu’s veggies are renowned for their quality, being stocked by Breeze Plaza (Taiwan equivalent of CItysuper), SOGO and other established organic shops. Along the way, Mr Wu continued to learn, undertaking a Masters degree in organic agriculture at Taiwan University. He has been praised as one of Taiwan’s Top 100 Farmers by the Agricultural Committee and has visited Japan to share his agricultural management experience.


Regarding his produce, Mr Wu holds a simply belief: provides healthy and happy ingredients for family and friends. Treat all customers like his family and friends. “I hope our HK friends will enjoy my vegetables, please tell them they are welcome to visit anytime” Mr Wu said, smiling broadly.

有機農吳成富一家三代務農,傳承了農家子弟的精神,從小的志願就是當農夫,一路走來始終如一。阿公種水稻、父親種草皮,他則選擇種植有機蔬菜,跳tone的演出,少了延續的負擔,得以大步開創自己的一片天地,並於今年榮獲全國模範農民肯定。


嘉義大學農場管理科畢業後,不做他想,直接投入有機農業,並至台大科技農企業經營管理精英班研修。他說:「我無法具體說明為什麼從小就想當農夫,但看著植物生長就感到喜悅。」


吳成富成立的「沛芳綜合有機農場」種植面積約一點五公頃,其中設施栽培為零點四公頃。由於創業經費有限,設施中的每一根鐵條、每一顆螺絲都是他親手搭建而成。吳成富回憶,剛種水果玉米時,曾經一分地只收成五根玉米,連續五年產量不佳,經多方詢問、觀察,才有如今每分地可收兩千多台斤的佳績。「說真的,要賺錢,農業並不是個好的選項;選擇農業,是要喜歡這樣的生活模式。」


吳成富栽培管理的哲學是尊重自然、適地適種。雜草並不全除,藉以觀察土相,如闊葉雜草較多,表示氮肥較高;尖葉的雜草較多,則顯示土壤中磷鉀肥較高,而了解土壤中氮磷鉀肥的變化便可充分利用。他指出,每種作物品種特性不同,都要找出它們在生態中的平衡點。「農業沒有捷徑,只有自己去做,才可能找到解決辦法。」


以玉米為例,每年六月是害蟲大舉入侵時期,吳成富調節產期,趕在五月收穫,避開害蟲好發期,便可不施農藥。又如十字花科、菊科植物的害蟲不會互吃蔬果,先種十字花科,在十字花科專屬害蟲出現後改種菊科蔬菜,就能克服。吳成富說,按照節令、氣候、害蟲特性,找出最適合栽種的蔬菜品種,種出優質、讓消費者安心的有機蔬菜,是他投身農業的堅持。


農地上的實驗,吳成富「玩」得不亦樂乎。他利用農場溫室試種各式萵苣,十年來,試種過的就約九十種,雖然種出來的萵苣市面上不見得接受,但他覺得新鮮、有趣,同時也符合消費者想嘗鮮的心理。


所學為農場管理,吳成富在經營管理上格外有心得。他以現代科技融入傳統農業,生產技術除引用工業生產排程及採行計畫性生產外,並導入輪作與循環性農業,在有限的土地資源作最大的利用,大量生產高單價的農產品,創造最大利潤。


他並號召志同道合的夥伴組成「橘子家族」,成員多為返鄉歸農的年輕人,共同作品牌行銷,建立中心衛星體系運作模式,藉由專業分工達到資源互補,提高產銷效率。尤其北部農業人力不足,由兩、三個農場一起雇用工人,朝共同採收、共同作業方式作田間管理,有助於降低成本。


「沒有人願意離鄉背井,如果橘子家族的模式是成功的,我們會積極分享經驗,讓更多年輕人願意回鄉務農,讓傳統的農業注入更多的熱情與活力,讓農村再現風華。」


家族中許多農場長期提供育幼院童有機蔬菜,還邀請育幼院小朋友來農場玩,讓孩子懂得珍惜環境、珍惜食物,結合公益、生產與生活,把有機帶入生活。吳成富說,去年,幾家有機農場合送給育幼院的有機蔬菜就有上萬台斤,這些孩子像是「天生天養」,由大地與眾人呵護,而心中富足的農民,菜也愈種愈好。


吳成富並積極推動成立「桃園縣有機產業發展協會」,目前擔任總幹事。去年開始與新北市合作,供應學童每周一日的營養午餐,創下台灣農業界的先例。吳成富表示,合作供應營養午餐的栽培與銷售等經營模式,就像是大夥兒的練兵場,如何供應足夠的產量、穩定產能都是挑戰,不過這卻是難得試身手的機會,萬一未來政策改變,也已練就一身武功。吳成富靦腆笑說,自己沒有多厲害,只不過真的很用心;而且「未來,不再是一個人,而是一個團隊向前走」。


不過,各個農場的農產品規格要一致化真的不容易,需要訂定規格並嚴格執行,而他,就是那個「顧人怨」的執行者,「我不入地獄,誰入地獄!」吳成富言談中沒有感慨,反而顯露出「有擔當」的氣勢。


他表示:「有人說:『阿富很強勢!』不過,我執行的都是會議中的共識。」吳成富認為,長久的經營應回歸本質,「現在已經有太多故事行銷,品質好最重要!人再怎麼會說,都不比產品自己說話」。




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