Lijia Village, Chiayi County, Taiwan, R.O.C. – April 7, 2012 – The Taiwan Executive Yuan Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council, Executive Yuan Council of Indigenous Peoples, Chiayi County Government, Lijia Community Development Association, and TSMC today held an opening ceremony for the Lijia Village Tea Processing Plant built and donated by TSMC. This milestone marks a new beginning for Lijia Village industry as it moves towards high value-added agricultural products.
Tea leaves are Lijia’s second-largest agricultural product after bamboo shoots, and the most economically valuable product. Annual production is approximately 40,800 kgs and valued at some NT$15 million. Floods caused by Typhoon Morakot on August 8, 2009 swept away all the tools and equipment of Lijia’s tea farmers, and forced them to process their tea leaves at other villages, significantly reducing their incomes. TSMC began construction of Lijia’s own tea processing plant in July 2011 to raise village incomes, and was directly involved in all aspects of construction including geological surveys, application for construction and operational licenses, water engineering, and purchasing of fermentation and production equipment. To improve the quality and value of tea grown in Lijia, TSMC also invited the Executive Yuan Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council, the Tea Research and Extension Station, and the Tainan Vocational Training Center to train professional tea masters for Lijia with courses ranging from planting to plantation management to fermentation. TSMC hopes that collaboration between industry and government can help the village gradually rebuild its economic vitality.
“TSMC stands by its commitments, and brought the company’s resources directly to the disaster area with a hands-on-approach, helping the village in the most direct and effective way possible,” said Ms Lora Ho, TSMC Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and coordinator of the TSMC Alishan Township Reconstruction Committee. “Currently, TSMC personnel have already spent more than 2,000 hours on Alishan. TSMC will continue to fulfill its corporate social responsibility and collaborate with both public and private organizations to close the gap between rural and urban areas and build a better society.”
“Although the people of Lijia suddenly lost their economic support after Typhoon Morakot, TSMC has walked beside them every step of the way over three difficult years of reconstruction,” said Chern Jenn-Chuan, Chief Executive of the Executive Yuan Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council. “The opening of the bamboo processing factory and donation of equipment and training for stargazing last year have given Lijia its own industry and a new tourism resource. Now the opening of this tea plant marks another important milestone after three years of reconstruction. It not only opens more economic opportunities to the village, but also demonstrates the business community’s care in developing rural areas.”
“We are thankful to TSMC not only for building this tea processing plant and enabling villagers to continue producing tea, but also for helping young people stay in the village to learn a vocational skill and build the foundation for continued growth of the village,” said Kao-Te An, Chairman of the Lijia Community Development Association. “We have come to a consensus in the village that once the tea processing plant begins to make a profit, it will return 20% of its earnings to the community to build a better and more self-reliant future for the village.”
Background to TSMC’s Participation in Alishan Reconstruction
Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan on August 8, 2009, causing severe damage to the natural beauty of Mt. Alishan. The villages of the aboriginal Tsou tribe were among the most severely damaged areas as the typhoon not only destroyed their homes overnight but also dealt a severe blow to their livelihoods – tourism and agriculture.
As a semiconductor manufacturer based in the Hsinchu Science Park, TSMC originally had little connection with the Tsou tribe, who live in Alishan at an altitude of 1075 meters and make their living through tourism, cultivating tea, and harvesting bamboo shoots. But in response to a call from the Executive Yuan Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council, TSMC joined the effort to rebuild the Alishan villages of Shanmei and Lijia and brought its resources directly to the disaster area. TSMC made use of the company’s skilled professionals and directly participated in site preparation, repairs, construction, remodeling, purchasing, contracting, and supervision, using the most efficient and direct methods to help the affected villages and setting a precedent for direct corporate involvement in reconstruction.
TSMC’s projects in Alishan country include full reconstruction of the Shanmei tribe’s “hope pavilion”, agricultural product sales center, general hall and traditional dance performance center. In Lijia, TSMC assisted with legalization of homestay accommodations, built a bamboo shoot processing plant, established a logo for the Tsou tribe, and supported marketing of agricultural products. TSMC also promoted star-gazing as a tourism opportunity and provided equipment and training to make it another attraction to draw visitors to Lijia. As tea is Lijia’s most valuable agricultural product, TSMC gained a legal construction permit in May 2011 and began construction of the Lijia Tea Processing Plant in July of the same year.