As the agricultural sector faces labor shortages, the Council of Agriculture has begun a pilot program this month to have prison inmates work on farms, with 56 positions available across 6 prisons. However, as many farmers are uncomfortable with having inmates work on their fields, the inmates have mostly been hired by local farmers' associations. Another thing about the program, is that the inmates must work on the same farm, so smallholders who need only one or two workers are not eligible for the program. At 8 o'clock every morning, five inmates from the Pingtung Prison come to the Wandan Farmers' Association to help sort and polish adzuki beans. With the agricultural sector facing a labor shortage, the Council of Agriculture is collaborating on a pilot program with the Ministry of Justice that allows inmates from 6 prisons to work on farms. However, as many farmers are uncomfortable with the inmates, the workers are currently hired by local farmers' associations at NT$700 to NT$750 a day. The associations are satisfied with the inmates' performance, since only inmates that show good behavior can work outside of the prison. ==CHANG CHIH-LIEH Chair, Wandan Farmers' Association== (The inmates) can resume contact and adapt to society earlier. As for the labor shortage problem in agriculture, I think this definitely helps as well. There are currently only 56 positions available to inmates pending wider societal acceptance of the program. However, the inmates require a warden with them at all times, so the five workers from Pingtung must all be hired at the same time. This makes the program unsuited to smallholders. ==LIU HISANG-CHENG Technical Specialist, Dept. of Farmers' Service, COA== For the inmates, the issue that all 5 must be hired at once cannot be solved. So we have farmhands that can be hired by smallholder or older farmers. Anyone who needs assistance can go to their farmers' association. The Council of Agriculture said that farmhands are available for farmers who need fewer people. They have higher salaries but more technical expertise. Whether the two programs can fulfill farmers' needs remains to be seen. TRANSLATED BY:JOHN CHEN 農業缺工,農委會試辦監獄收容人當農工,5月起全國6個監所陸續上路,總共釋出56個名額,不過,請收容人幫忙務農,農民有疑慮,目前多由地方農會僱用,上午農委會和獄方到屏東萬丹農會視察運作情形,農會反應不錯,不過,派出的收容人必須在同一場地集中管理,若有小農想申請一、兩個名額,無法適用。 收成的紅豆倒入機器裡,一早八點,來自屏東監獄的5名收容人就到萬丹農會上工,幫忙挑選、磨光紅豆。 農業缺工,農委會和法務部合作,推出收容人農工方案,5月起,全國有6個監所陸續上路,不過,因為農民對收容人多有疑慮,初步由地方農會先僱用,每人每天工資700到750元。農會也對收容人表現很滿意,因為人力就來自表現良好才能納入的外役監。 ==屏東萬丹農會總幹事 張枝烈== (收容人)跟社會提早做接觸 適應社會 那對於解決農業缺工的問題 或多或少 我想一定會有幫助 -1 顧慮外界接受度,目前全國總共只提供56名收容人,不過,收容人外派工作,需要管理員戒護,像屏東有5個名額,就要5人同時僱用,對小農並不適合。 ==農委會輔導處技正 劉向正== 所以就針對受刑人他們不能去改善 5個人一起出去的窘境 我們就僱請農業師傅 針對小農的部分 老農的部分 需要幫忙的 只要跟農會講一聲 -1 農委會強調,人力需求少的農民,可改請農業師傅幫忙,不過農業師傅工資1200到1500元不等,但較具技術專長,兩種方案是否能滿足農民,還要看試辦成果。 記者 王介村 許政俊 屏東報導