POLL: Can farming be profitable without welfare incentives?

Lets discuss. I know many foreigners in agriculture, it is much more common than may meet social medias eye in Taiwan.

Many other topics have this theme come up . So lets discuss the reality of it here and let those threads talk about their industies in peace before they stroke out :slight_smile:

Real farming. For profit and on scale (aka. Not gardening). Factory, industrial, intensive, passive ,chemical, organic and so on. But real farming in terms of meeting real demands.

Can farming be lucrative without welfare and subsidies from non profits, governments etc?

  • Yes, farming is always profitable with financial assistance.
  • Yes, farming is always profitable without financial assistance
  • Yes, farming can be profitable without assistance but depends on the efforts put in
  • No, farming can never be profitable
  • I just want food so cheap it cripples my grandchildrens future, and I think that is ok.

0 voters


The correct answer is probably more along the lines of: farming can be profitable with and without government assistance. It’s not an always or a never.

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With assistance its always profitable by defintion i feel. Without it depends on the person doing the work . Kind of like a yes/no option with amiddle option for variable (being the person). I tried editing to can be, but wont let me.

I don’t know why the average man in the street sees farming as something unique. If you have a good business plan and you know what you’re doing you’ll succeed. If you’re reliant on a single product that’s identical to everybody else’s product, leverage yourself up to the hilt, and rely on the government to bail you out when your “I’ll just do exactly what everyone else does” plan doesn’t work, you’re in for a world of pain.

Most businesses fail. Most fail for good reasons. Very few people make a living out of any business, and even fewer get rich doing it. Farming really isn’t any different.


For the small farmer it is hard, in most places its the big corporate farms that make a lot (some lose a lot). What I see is the farmer gets a small amount what is paid at the super/hypermarkets. Southern Taiwan has farmer co ops which help, but other countries co ops can be big business. USA 7000 farmer co op https://www.oceanspray.com/Our-Story


Just curious. Do you need to pay protection money when doing business in Taiwan? To the local mafia and the like.

Exactly! But it is indeed a common person to run into. When people talk to us and hear we are farmers. They either have it in their eyes, or just directly say, so sorry for you guys. What a pity or some such similar passive aggressive/condescending line . Hear even worse to others. It boggles my mind as well.

Hence wanting to discuss it. The idea farmers are poor is an interesting one. Especially given it is objectively the most important industry on earth . No food, no tech.

It’s really a weird one. What gets me are the societies that believe that farming is a job to be left exclusively to the village idiot, and that anyone born into a farming family with a modicum of brains should leave and get a job in a call centre. The outcome for society-at-large is pretty predictable.

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I get the feeling that farmers, collectively, are their own worst enemy. They have enormous bargaining power, but they voluntarily hand it over to middlemen and supermarkets because they’d rather do that than band together and sort out their own markets. At the end of the day it’s easier to hand over all that stuff about numbers and money to some guy in a suit, even though it ultimately results in a bad outcome for all farmers and for society.

To be fair, the government often sets up rule structures that make it difficult or impossible for farmers to control the market. But they don’t really have to put up with that sort of thing either.

This is actually something that should be discussed openly more often, and in great deal! Likely most of the average people going to stores to buy stuff dont understand this and how terrible it is. It reacts in similar ways as systemic racism in that the card is stacked against farmers from regulations up. Not always, but it has been in many societies for a very long time.

This gets interesting in taiwan because the taiwanese government is literally direct competition in many industries and avoiding conflict of interest never seems to come up in conversation.

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Yes. For farming the relevant gangs are : FDA, MOA and tax agency.


Taiwan is certainly a country of middlemen and consultants! But farmers can make big money by doing that work themselves.

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Oh, you are already doing some farming business and profitable. And this is more like a PSA that you can make money farming.

I thought you are trying to enter agriculture business and looking for some input.

Ya, already doing it. The previously mentioned mafia groups are the only hurdles outside of the usual environmental challenges. If you are a foreigner without taiwan ID there are a few more mafia groups that outright ban you from certain aspects of agriculture. Well, fuck them! even with all them against you, farming can still be quite profitable. And not even by selling way overpriced things to people on facebook :wink:

What do you mean by PSA?

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Really? Which aspects?

I noticed that, when I had a bit of land in Taiwan, a lot of the self-appointed “farming community” types made it quite clear they didn’t like me being there. The ordinary people were OK, though.

Not a full list but I quick one before i head back out. Shit farmers arent allowed to do without an ID. Note some things are allowed on a JFRV visa IF the family joined is registered.

Own farmland
Rent government AG land
Register for certain AG courses
Cannot have farmers health insurance, and without that you cant have:
Any form of subsidy
Any form of assistance for damages
Any AG loans
Any deals for materials (pipes etc)
Any promotionals like stimulus switching to organic, no spray etc)
Official help in promoting exported products
Actual export of products ,needs togo through a company

There are more but im in a rush and now quite annoyed lol.

There are real world problems and consequences to these though, aside from whitey calling a foul.


Thats nice lot, and I see spring has arrived there and its not too cold. Will you grow the famous melons there? That Island is the real bread basket of Japan.

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Not only Taiwan, in many places/ Look at Starbucks, I guess they pay farmers a small percentage of what sell a bottle of coffee beans for. Taiwan coffee farmers do try to sell direct and can get more than say a farmer in Indonesia or Brazil though. Hawaii has the best model making the “Kona” name worth something, just like Champagne wine, which now can only be french as the protect the name brand " Champagne". Even my Hawaii relatives have local co op that uses the local name. I for one will support cafes that sell “Pingtung” products. The Taiwan pork signs do seem to work.


Local stores are full of inexpensive Yubari melons so I haven’t gotten into growing them myself yet. They need to start early in the season too so I missed the window.

In Belgium many farmers were the ones driving the expensive cars, probably from the subsidies they got. And more started building nice houses on their farmland, replacing the shabby farmhouses.