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TSC: not chopping down all the trees overnight, only partial afforested farmland back to agricultural use

Recently some media misreported TSC is going to chop down all the trees in its afforested farmland for solar panels. TSC responded that it is acceptable for media to discuss the matters related to TSC's expiring afforestation farmland; however, do not use misleading information to purposely direct people to think TSC plans to cut down all the trees in the afforested farmland only for solar panels. It is absolutely not true. The sensational and untruthful headlines only deepen public's misunderstanding and make no contribution to the afforested farmland's long-term future at all. 
“TSC's afforestation has its own historical background. According to the 20-year contract, the afforested farmland is about to expire in 2 years and we plan to revert the farmland from afforestation back to original agricultural use,” TSC stated, adding that it is necessary for the company to think beforehand about whether the farmland should be reverted back to sugarcane planting or grain growing. As far as the agrivoltaic project, it is government's current policy and according to the regulations, farmland is allowed to install green energy facilities with the overall coverage below 40% so as to increase land value through green power generation. TSC emphasized if we have not explained the agrivoltaic project well enough, we are more than willing to restate that NOT ALL of the trees in the current afforested farmland will be cut down. Even if the company is planning to carry out the project, the farmland, according to the regulations, is allowable to revert back to original agricultural use for agri-food production as well as to install renewable energy facilities with the overall coverage below 40% of the property.
TSC further clarified as regards more than 10 thousand hectares of the afforested farmland, the company will preserve the trees in which have already been planned for forest recreational areas, such as Danongdafu (Masadi) Forest Park next to Zihciang Minimum-Security Prison in Hualien, the ones with good forest forms, and those being planted along roads and sidewalks will not be chopped down. TSC will also preserve the trees in the regions where local residents already have close connections to their everyday lives; for example, the areas adjacent to villages and the ones already looking like plantation parks. Local ecotourism derived from afforestation has also been taken into consideration in the TSC's agrivoltaic development.
TSC admitted that afforestation can absorb heat and reduce emissions; nevertheless, Taiwan's greenhouse emissions constantly remain high and some emissions result from fossil-fuel-based power generation. If agrivoltaic development could alleviate air pollution and hazy skies in Taiwan, wouldn't it also fulfill the same purpose as afforestation? TSC repeatedly emphasized there is no such thing as cutting down all the trees and in the future, there are still several thousands of hectares of forest continually to clean the air we breathe. 
TSC also solemnly expressed that TSC's agrivoltaic development is part of the government's new agriculture innovation program and TSC, as a stated-owned company, ought to promote and implement the government's policy. The project is in fact irrelevant to TSMC's 3nm fab. TSC has obeyed the laws and regulations and has never connected with any specific vendors in confidence for the agrivoltaic project. TSC sincerely hoped diverse opinions can be exchanged, but false or misleading information should not be spread any more. 
“People raise doubts about whether it is a 'fake agriculture promotion but real power generation' project, yet it is just an incorrect guess,” TSC said, stressing that establishment of the designated agrivoltaic zones will follow the guidelines and instructions in the project approved by Council of Agriculture (COA). Based upon the current lush greenery landscape, soil improvement, road construction, and water infrastructure will be further conducted, and both self-sufficiency rate of food and feed and employment rate of young farmers are expected to increase as well. All of these aim at ensuring crop production to reach above 70% of the national average and to effectively implement the concepts of the government's new agriculture policy.
“The agrivoltaic farming project is still in the planning phase,” TSC explained. “Hope the general public can calmly watch how TSC will carry out this project and deeply discuss its pros and cons rather than just jump into an oversimplified conclusion of “cutting down trees for solar panels.” After all, TSC would not be so unwise enough to arouse public wrath by chopping down trees just for solar energy production.
TSC News Contact Person:
Chang, Mu-Jung
Public Relations, Department of Secretariat, TSC
Contact Number: 886-6-337-8819 / 886-920-636-951
Email: a63449@taisugar.com.tw

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