Rejuvenate the Village, Happiness with Common Prosperity and Co-living for Elderly
Statistics of the Ministry of Interior show that the elderly population reaches 14% of the total population in Taiwan, which ranks third place among Asia. It tells the truth that Taiwan is an aging society, especially the elderly population in remote areas, which would be even higher. Thus, it's urgent to cope with the problems, such as medical treatments and dining for the elderly and constant management of the Community.
Speaking of the above, Shih Ann Community Cooperatives in Houbi District, Tainan City, does set up an excellent model. Local people plant organic rice then establish a cooperative by stock subscription. The surplus would allocate 20% to reinvest the Community, which brings co-living for the elderly. The Cooperatives delivered Peace Rice as well as reinforced sales marketing. They make allies with Taiwan Housewife Union Living Consumption Cooperative to continue promoting the idea of shared prosperity. They'd like to distribute the information of happiness in Shih Ann to more people.
▲The roasted rice cracker is mixed with cooked maltose and stirred evenly. The rice food research and development lab runs efficiently like a factory-style production process.
Dynamic Again, Taking Care of Every Procedure
Driving along the distinctive railways of Taiwan Sugar Corporation from Sinying City, Shih Ann Community Cooperative went into your sight after you driving through a vast paddy field. The Cargo Collecting and Distributing hub starts a day from 9 a.m., and workers repeat the procedure of roasting rice crackers and add maltose. After proper shaping, the biscuits are packed as products on the shelves. The rice food research and development lab runs efficiently like a factory-style production process. In addition to the rice mill and dryer equipment, the affiliated stall sells various products such as Shih Ann Rice and Black Bean Tea… etc., the Cooperative handles everything on their own, from production to sales, which creates local employment opportunities at the same time.
The population of the Community is more than 600. The lifestyle is simple. People work hard and are exposed to the sunrays in the daytime, and rest in their family yards chatting and gathering. With the loss of the youth population, the actual residents are roughly about 300 to 400. In the past, transportation was not friendly to elderly medical needs. Besides, it costs an arm and a leg. As a result, the "Shih Ann Community Shuttle Service" was born. It provides pick-up services with fixed routes between the Community and hospitals accessible in Sinying and Liuying. The Community Development Association published stickers to every local house which displays shuttle information. A pick-up service is just a call away. This measure won peoples' hearts.
The Cargo Collecting and Distributing hub was built upon the stock subscription. The shareholders extended from preliminary founding members of 55 to 120 people, and the capital raised from 2 million to 10 million. They plotted the potential development in the future at the beginning, which earns them locals' recognition. They would take 20% of surpluses to use as senior welfare funds, providing services to those in need. For example, they use part of the excesses to provide meals to those with lower income and elderly who are living alone, which enhanced the social welfare in an overall extent for an aging community.
New Energy from the returning Youths, Sawing and Selling on Their Own
It's common to adopt pesticide in the framing industry to avoid pests and diseases. However, the residuals of pesticides cause health problems against the human body. That's why Shih Ann Community Cooperative anchored its production as "organic rice. " They chose to plant rice is Taiken 9 specie for its healthy and quality. Meanwhile, chemical fertilizers were replaced with bio substances such as Tea Seed Powder. There are 12 akkers (1 akker is 0.9699 square kilometer, a traditional Taiwanese agriculture measurement derived from the Dutch Occupation from 1624 to 1662) so far. However, it would require at least 20 akkers to reach the ideal amount. Although the number of crops was not suitable in the first year, the Cooperatives insist on preventing contracted farmers from losses and purchased the crop production with a price that was 40% higher than the market. So far, they also plant black beans during the following as one of the production lines. As rice prices went steady and quality control was ready, the income would go back to the farmers, and a positive production cycle was formed.
Most of the elderly stay energetic since they maintain a regular life routine with their farm and land, and retirement is never an option. Everyone plays a proactive role in community events. An aging society is workforce-challenged. The efficiency goes down while the population grows older. Promoting the younger generation to return to their hometown is the priority task for villages in Taiwan.
Currently, the youngest staff in the Cooperatives is 25 years old. For the sake of the parents, the team chose to stay in the Community. Stuff is diligent, bright, and creative, which adds colors and floods to the local workforce. It is worth mentioning that they join forces and take risks together, which makes their production visible in society.
▲The Cooperatives would take 20% of surpluses to use as senior welfare funds, providing services to those in need.
Efficiency Came Alone with Well-Organized Operation and Multiple Assignments
The concept of "village-friendly" could be found here. From rice milling, production to packaging, everyone works together. In this way, it generates local employment opportunities and creates a shared community vision benefit for long term development. Shih Ann Community Cooperative runs as a social enterprise. However, its management encounters challenges like sale promotion, enormous cost control. They need experts to operate.
Being familiar with the textile industry, project manager Tan-yu Cho operates the Cooperative based on a factory manufacturing style. Product development, production, and marketing all became more efficient than ever, since the previous methods were exposed themselves in expos. Meanwhile, media disclosure, distribution of cooperative ideas, and multiple product lines made Shih Ann famous. The renowned "Rice Burger" developed by Taiwan Housewife Union Living Consumption Cooperative uses rice of Shih Ann. The delicate texture of Taiken NO.9 tasted like rice in sushi, which distributed the concept of Shih Ann production, is compatible with the well-known rice production planted in eastern Taiwan.
In the past, it was not common to see organizational management. Most of the chores fells upon only one person and restricted an industry to grow. Concerning about the workforce, the Community applied for the Empowering Employment Program (EEP) launched by Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Ministry of Labor. The Community built up a self-produced processing room, cultivate the youth workforce, and match the professional knowledge and networks of the elderly to operate the whole process. At the same time, people are encouraged to take part in the production process. In this way, both the elderly and young people find their positioning. Presently, the Cooperative runs in a well-organized way. They set up positions such as team leaders of production and development who are responsible for supervising the progress and ensuring everything goes steady. For example, they monitor the amount of stock to prevent wastes and handles effects. They only produce Shih Ann Rice based on orders which guarantee the fresh quality of their rice. Since spots are a common problem for rice production, it requires human resources to filter, select, and to weigh up. With the subsidies from EEP, human resources are no longer a problem, making the Cooperative growing strong.
The Village is Worth Visiting Year Round
The Shih Ann community buildings are located as the shape of the Chinese character "eight" in a vast paddy field when watching down from the sky. The local environment is suitable for the village trip because contract farmers are ready to serve and provides countryside meals for lunch. In the afternoon, tourists can practice making rice biscuits in DIY courses. After the sunsets, people can gather in the yards of homestay, watching the stars and chatting, enjoying the casual, exquisite countryside life. The nearby areas are full of travel industry potential. During March to April, Kapok blossoms; Lotus festival in July and August in Baihe District; and Guanziling Hot Spring in winter. It is a suitable trip to Tainan almost all year round, which entails dawns of future business opportunities.
The changes in recent years of Shih-Ann Community went viral. The operation of the Community Cooperative meets the criteria of a social enterprise, which solve minority problems and turned crisis to chances. It integrated first-level production, second-level processing, and third-level transportation as the whole system, developed with a six-level strength. The surpluses reward the farmers and keep providing medical shuttle, elderly dining, children's education, and emergency assistance for the Community.
The exclusive operation of Shih Ann Community Cooperation created a groundbreaking development for the traditional industry. It works by collective capital, and invests the Community by using part of its surpluses, which elevated the local social welfare and optimized the living surroundings, and brought the travel industry. After executing EEP and promoting youth returning, this area activated with full speed, to rejuvenate this place with the vision of happiness, universal prosperity, and co-living for the elderly. Shia Ann Community found a unique way for agriculture transformation.
Case Story - Empowering Employment Program
Tan-yu Cho - Shih Ann Community Cooperatives in Houbi District of Tainan City
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Please attribute this article to “Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor.”