CS visits AFCD's Tai Lung Experimental Station (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, visited the Tai Lung Experimental Station (TLES) of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Sheung Shui this afternoon (January 9).

     Mrs Lam started the visit by receiving a briefing from the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Mr Alan Wong, and the directorate officers on the work and scope of services of the TLES, which is the only crop experimental farm operated by the Government in Hong Kong, and where the AFCD conducts studies to search for and put on trial production methods and crop varieties that suit the local environment, thereby supporting local agriculture.

     The AFCD seeks to help farmers enhance production efficiency, crop quality and safety for consumption through researching, developing and promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly farming methods. An organic demonstration farm has been set up in the TLES and seminars and workshops are organised from time to time to facilitate the transfer of skills to farmers. The AFCD also studies the suitability of various types of controlled-environment greenhouses for adaptation in Hong Kong, develops environmentally friendly integrated pest management methods and promotes the safe use of pesticides to local farmers through the Accredited Farm Scheme. To raise farmers' competitiveness, the AFCD has selected and introduced premium vegetable and fruit varieties with high value for local farmers to grow so as to meet market demand and bring in more economic returns to farmers.

     Mrs Lam toured several areas at the TLES after the briefing, including the controlled-environment greenhouses, a mushroom shed and the organic demonstration farm. During the tour, departmental staff introduced to Mrs Lam the controlled-environment method for growing cherry tomatoes, coloured sweet peppers and edible mushrooms as well as space-saving multi-layer cultivation. Mrs Lam also noted the effectiveness of low-cost rain shelter in protecting plant growth, and took a look at the small farm machinery which can be loaned to local farmers. These facilities and techniques are being introduced to Hong Kong from other places. Having regard to the local farming conditions and environment, they will be adjusted suitably and recommended to farmers after being tried and tested successfully at the TLES.

     Mrs Lam chatted with front-line colleagues of the department during the visit and expressed her appreciation for the products of the TELS such as hydroponic baby leaf and other organic farming products. She commended AFCD staff for their strenuous efforts in promoting local agricultural products and raising agricultural productivity. She also encouraged them to continue to strive for excellence in providing professional support to the industry and actively promoting agricultural development in Hong Kong.

     The Government recently released a public consultation document entitled "The New Agricultural Policy: Sustainable Agricultural Development in Hong Kong", seeking public views on a new policy to adopt a more proactive approach towards the modernisation and sustainable development of local agriculture. The consultation exercise will end on March 31, 2015. The Food and Health Bureau together with the AFCD will explain to agricultural organisations and related bodies in greater depth the policy recommendations and listen to their views, which, after analysis, will serve as reference for policy formulation.

Ends/Friday, January 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:02