余玉賢「犁」清阡陌難題

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1989 / 2月

文‧張毅君 圖‧張良綱


當前農村人口老化、農田受污染嚴重、國外農產品大量進口致使農民收益減少等問題交相影響下,余玉賢於去年七月接掌行政院農業委員會主任委員一職,眾皆認為「適才適所」,但卻難創佳績。

接下燙手山芋的余玉賢,憑藉其一向對農業的熱誠,信心十足地要為台灣農業開創新境界。


約半世紀前,在新竹縣關西鎮某農家,父親看到六歲的長子對農事很有興趣,就半開玩笑地對他說:「你和泥巴有緣,長大後留在家裡幫我種田好了!」

完全出乎那位農夫余錫珖的意料,他那位曾在泥巴裡打滾多年的長子,竟在去年被任命為行政院農業委員會主任委員。

盡心農事,銳意改革

由於家中務農,身為長子的余玉賢,自小就帶著兩個弟弟,分擔家中的農事:放牛、插秧、除草、割稻……,夏天汗血交融,冬天皮膚乾裂,泡在田堛煽味,使他對農民生活的辛酸,有深刻的體會。

高中時,余玉賢曾在田間休息吃點心時頗有感觸地表示:農民生活苦,真希望將來能設法改善農民生活。「當時他立下了這個宏願,就有了執著;回頭看這幾十年,幾乎都沒有改變過」,他的二弟,任職於新聞局的余玉照表示。

翻開余玉賢的學經歷,正足以說明他獻身農業的貫徹態度。台灣省立農學院農經系、中興大學農經研究所畢業,而後赴美取得普渡大學農經博士,歷任中興大學農經系講師、副教授、教授兼系主任、農復會技正、農發會企劃組長,以及嘉義農專校長。

民國七十年,余玉賢出任台灣省政府農林廳長,經歷李登輝、邱創煥兩位省主席,時間長達六年七個月。培養核心農家(八萬農建大軍)、發展精緻農業、衛星農場、農業專業區、開辦農保……等極具改革性的措施,都是他在農林廳期間推動起來的。

適才適所,眾所支持

中國國民黨十三全會後內閣改組,部分內閣官員被安排的位置,讓一些「觀察家」「跌破眼鏡」,而余玉賢卻得到「適才適所」、「名實相符」的評語。他所以能有此「待遇」,除了因為他卅年來始終未與農業脫節、學養夠、行政經驗豐富之外,更因為他過去處理農業問題的魄力與膽識,普遍得到農民的信任與支持。

去年「五二○」事件過後,時任農林廳長的余玉賢曾親自下鄉到雲林、嘉義地區安撫農民不滿的情緒,並耐心地聽他們吐苦水,當時一些酪農曾激動的表示:「我們現在只相信你一個人了。」

六月,高雄縣的農民團體到中興新村請願,要求原訂七十八年實施的農保提前一年辦理。他們在當地鬧了一天,也傷了警察,並指名要余玉賢一個人進去農民聚集的中興會堂內和他們溝通。

當時情勢有些混亂,隨從人員為他的安危擔心;余玉賢卻不顧勸阻地表示:「我自己的人來了,有什麼好害怕的?」於是單槍匹馬進入中興會堂。經過短時間的溝通,不但平息了農民的怒氣,還在全體農民的鼓掌聲中走出會堂。他的秘書陳真滿表示,他所以能和農民溝通,是因為沒有「官架子」,平日不斷利用閒暇,甚至犧牲假日,下鄉聽農民的聲音,因而建立良好的溝通管道。

主導農業大政

但是在去年「五二○事件」過後,省議會審查預算期間,他也大膽地打破「官場倫理」,在議會中痛心地指出,中央的財經官員對農委會例行會議的參與不足,以及對農村、農民等基層的了解不夠,以致在決策上往往忽略了農業所存在的問題。

「教科書上說的很漂亮,要注重市場供需及價格機能,但是拿到田野來印證,並不那麼單純」,余玉賢說。

「有人說,我們生產成本這麼高,糧食可以進口啊!但是過去曾發生玉米船期慢了一個禮拜事件,結果飼料價格飛漲,造成畜牧業的恐慌;連豬、雞的飼料都這麼敏感,對於人的糧食,我們能冒這個險嗎?」他說。

在內有農地亟待改革,外有進口農產品的威脅下,余玉賢此時接掌農委會,多數人認為他接到一個「燙手山芋」;而他卻信心十足地表示要為台灣一流的農業「接生」。

以下是本刊訪問余主委的摘要:

農、工平衡發展

問:就理論言,農業也是經濟的一環;但是農業補貼政策及保護高成本的產品,似乎與經濟的原則相違背,您認為道理何在?

答:農業如果純粹是經濟問題,運用比較利益原則,自由經濟貿易的作法,也許可以提高效率。但事實上,農業有很多資源缺乏流動性,例如土地,不能說土地不好就換一塊,它有其固定性,無法像一般經濟理論所說的,資源要充分流動。

所以理論和實際可能還有一段距離,而政府對農業保護的考慮上,往往不只是經濟問題,同時是政治、社會問題,這也是我從事農政工作多年來的一個感受。

問:您曾經提過,農、工業要平衡發展,但是兩者在我國經濟所佔的比重,差距相當大,要如何才能維持平衡?

答:事實上,農業的範圍相當廣,例如輾米廠台灣就有五、六千家,若將米店、農藥廠、農產品加工廠也算進去的話,整個農業相關企業,顯然比我們所知狹義的農業要大得很多。

這也是因為美國農業人口雖然只佔百分之二,卻對農業這麼重視的原因,如果其相關企業不景氣,農藥、肥料賣不出去,食品加工廠也做不下去,受到影響的絕對不會只有農業。

所以我認為,農業要與工業結合,我們稱為農業結構縱深化,不單只有農業,而是和工業、肥料業、超級市場、果菜市場都結合在一起,才是所謂的農工平衡發展。

土地為農業之母

問:我國土地資源有限,而農地又限制買賣,農民的生產利潤無法提高,其他產業也無法利用這項資源,許多經濟學者主張農地開放買賣,您的看法如何?

答:的確有許多農民因農地無法變更為建地來蓋大樓、工廠,而有種被犧牲的感覺,這種為公共長遠利益而加諸於農地的限制,要由社會來負擔,給予適當的補償。

從長遠來看,農業不僅是一種產業,也是生態的平衡。假定農業只是一種產業,種鴉片也可以啊!如果只顧及經濟,種椰子、種檳榔利潤都很高,但是我們不鼓勵。至於土地變更用途或開放買賣,則需整體規劃、比較不適合單獨處理。

問:能否請您就這點講得更為詳細一些。另外,您曾提出「永久農業區」的做法,是否可進一步說明。

答:提出設置農業生產專業區的目的,是要維護農業生產環境不致被污染、破壞,因為要維護這樣的生態環境,就不要輕易變更成非農業用途;因此在觀念上,我們可以把它看成「永久農業區」。有些人不喜歡這樣的名詞,認為對農民在土地的利用來說,好像永遠吃虧。

但是我們不這樣認為,因為劃為農業專業區以後,政府應該妥善維護,若因此而使農民受限或造成損失,政府應該透過公共投資給予適當的補償;而農地也並非永久沒辦法改變,因為我們有土地法、都市計劃法、區域計劃法,要變更的話,可由國家來做整體規劃。

這樣就不會讓企業家看上一塊土地後,設法變更為工業用地,他個人得到到益,卻使社會成本增加。常見到農業區蓋工廠,一下雨就有災害,廢水排不出去,例如鎘污染,養養魚也不行、種什麼也不行,這些都是慘痛的教訓。

所以,如果要做區域變更,政府需透過公共投資來做地下水、廢水處理廠,經過環保署檢定、影響評估,這樣才不會有後遺症。

事實上,「永久」只是一個概念,不是絕對的百分之百,誰能預測廿年以後,要再建一條高速公路,而農地不會變更為道路?

找尋農業、外貿平衡點

問:未來的農業發展,您認為有那些重點需要加強。

答:過去我們比較偏重於技術,現在要多注重人文,也就是以農民為中心,以人為本位的政策。

農業不完全是一個追求利潤的產業。農業的特性,是生產與生活在一起,所以倫理很重要。務農者都知道,它是生物性的生產,有一定的生長程序,不能一步登天。

我們常說,「揠苗助長」的結果,不但達不到目的,往往連根都拔掉了,所以一定要按部就班,有耐心和愛心。從事農業生產,有一定的程序、季節,科學也許可以縮短它的時間,但是基本上每一階段的功能還是不能消除。

現在很多人炒股票,農村也受到功利主義的影響,所以我們想提出人文觀念,做為農村的精神基礎,如果沒有這樣的想法,從事農業的也該改行了。

問:近年來,關於貿易自由化的政策,我國農業部門遭到很大的打擊,身為農政單位的主管,您是用什麼觀點來看這個問題?

答:自由貿易是一個理想,如果全世界都遵守,對全人類的福祉會有所增進,但是有人講自由化,卻比我們保護得還要徹底,為什麼?因為要防止他的國民失業。美國喊著要自由貿易,結果電器業被日本打垮了,面對龐大的失業人口,美國政府還是得想辦法來保護。

在農業上,我們有良好的科技、一流的農民,當他們無法轉到工商業,還願意留在農村的時候,我們為什麼不給他們機會?我們應該透過談判來增進農民利益。這堶惜@定有一個平衡點,是我們要努力找出來的。

〔圖片說明〕

P.109

雖然面臨接踵而來的挑戰,余玉賢卻從未放棄他對農業的執著。

P.110

余玉賢全家福。(余玉賢提供)

P.111

在泥巴中長大的余玉賢,對農民、農村的關切源自生活體驗。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Bullish on Agriculture: Yu Yu-hsien

Jack Chang /photos courtesy of Vincent Chang /tr. by Phil Newell

Almost a half century ago, a farmer in a small village in Kuanhsi, near Hsinchu, saw that his six-year-old son was fascinated with farming, and said, "Your destiny is with the soil; when you grow up, stay at home and help me farm."


Little did Yu Hsi-kuang expect that his son would today be the chairman of the Council on Agriculture of the Executive Yuan.

As the oldest son in a farming family, Yu Yu-hsien took the lead in sharing family farm work: planting, cutting, plowing. . . . This has left Yu with a deep understanding of the hardships of farm life. His younger brother, Yu Yuh-chao, the editor-in-chief of Sinorama, recalls that while still in high school, his brother, during a break in farm work, said that he really wished he could find a way to improve the lives of those on the farms. "Looking back over thirty years, he seems to have never altered that ambition set on that day," says the younger Yu.

His resume is proof: He graduated from the provincial Taichung College of Agriculture, and the Graduate School of Agricultural Economics at National Chung Hsing University, got his Ph.D. in the same field at Purdue University, served as professor of agricultural economics at Chung Hsing, as a senior specialist of the Joint Committee on Rural Reconstruction, and as president of National Chia-yi Institute of Agriculture.

In 1981 he became commissioner of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry, serving six years and seven months under then Governor Lee Teng-hui and present Governor Chiu Chuang-huan. He was a moving force behind such programs as the nuclear farm family, satellite farms, agricultural construction, and specialized agricultural zones.

After the post-Thirteenth Party Congress cabinet reshuffle, some observers were surprised at several appointments, but praised Yu's choice as "putting talent where it belongs." And not only because of his background, but also because of his courage and responsibility, and the support he enjoys among farmers.

After the May 20 incident, where protesting farmers battled police for a day, Yu personally went to the countryside to assuage feelings and hear out the farmers' complaints. During a demonstration in June at the provincial government (demanding early implementation of farmers' insurance) in which police were injured, farmers demanded to speak with Yu. Though his aides feared for his safety, he said, "These are my people. What have I got to be afraid of?" He not only calmed the farmers, but left them amidst loud applause. His talents at communication extend to the government.

Some suggest Yu is too rooted in the agricultural view. He has been very much concerned about the agricultural side of trade liberalization: "Some say, our production costs are very high, we can import food! But in the past when corn imports were a week late, fodder prices rose rapidly, creating panic. Can we face this risk with food for human consumption?"

Faced with the need for restructuring within agriculture and the threat of imports, Yu's new post is considered a "hot potato." But he is confident, expressing the desire to "serve as midwife" to a first-class agricultural sector on Taiwan. Here are some selections from his talk with Sinorama.

Q: In theory, subsidizing high-cost agricultural production is economically irrational; what's your view?

A: If agriculture were purely an economic problem, then a free market could perhaps raise efficiency. But some aspects don't fit theory; for example land is not a mobile factor of production. Also, agriculture is not only an economic issue, but also a political and social problem.

Q: You have suggested that agriculture and industry develop in balance. With the gap between them in terms of share of the economy so large, how can this be?

A: In fact, the scope of agriculture is quite large. For example there are five or six thousand rice-grinding factories, and 6,000 pesticide factories, plus processing industries. Agriculture is really much larger than the narrow definition we all know. Therefore I believe that we should unify agriculture and industry, what we call deepening. So-called "balanced development" means bringing together industry, fertilizer production, super-markets, and not just having agriculture alone.

Q: Since space is limited, some favor lifting restrictions on farmers selling their land. What's your view?

A: Certainly some farmers feel cheated because they cannot sell their land to build apartments or factories. But from the long-term view, agriculture is not just an industry, it is a kind of ecological balance. To liberalize land use, there must be integrated planning. It is not appropriate for individual action.

This is why I favor special agriculture zones--to preserve the agricultural environment from pollution. The government should reasonably compensate farmers who suffer losses from restrictions on land use for the long-term benefit of society. If there is to be a change in land use in a place, the government must prepare drainage, pollution control, and do an impact assessment, so there are no regrets.

Q: What are the main areas that need strengthening in future development?

A: In the past we stressed technology. Now we must stress people, and put the farmers at the center of policy. In farming, production and life are intertwined, so ethical considerations are very important. Today, even the villages feel the influence of utilitarianism, so I think we should raise this humanistic view.

Q: Recently, trade liberalization has been a serious blow to agriculture. What's your viewpoint on this topic?

A: Free trade is an ideal. Some talk liberalization, but they protect more thoroughly than us. Why? To avoid unemployment in their countries. In agriculture, we have good technology and good people. If they want to stay on the farm, why not give them a chance? We have to work for the farmers' benefit through negotiations. There is certainly some balance point here that we should strive to reach.

[Picture Caption]

Although faced with a succession of challenges, Yu has lost none of his enthusiasm for agriculture.

A man raised in the land, Yu Yu-hsien's concern for the farm and the village derives from real life experience.

A Yu family portrait. (photo courtesy of Yu Yu-hsien)

 

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