Hera Sue（China Productivity Center Agriculture Innovation Department）
In Taiwan, agriculture has always played an important role, inseparable from people’s livelihood, social and economic development, and ecology. However, ongoing social change has made it hard for traditional agricultural model to meet the demand of consumers, who are not contented just with fresh and delicious products, but are expecting visual and emotional ecstasy. To meet the needs of consumers, traditional culture and creativity are integrated in the effort of transformation, which not only retains the classic local culture, but also turns the originality to agriculture to come up with farms and products with unique individual styles to achieve better revenue. Transformation is essential for a major agricultural economy like Taiwan, and "cultural and creative industry" has great potential to achieve another momentum.
II.Agriculture x Cultural & Creative Industry, Easily Implemented
Understanding of the content and applications is important for the easy and successful implementation. This is illustrated below in three aspects: products, packaging, and marketing:
（１）Products—Unique features identified to add value to the products
Consideration should first be given to the unique features of the products that make them stand out. Regardless of the types and the number of products, even a very simple product can be made different. Nextland (Figure 1), for example, was an enterprise of feed production and husbandry, but set up a tourism factory in Yunlin. It is a pig husbandry plant for tourists, exhibiting items from the farm to the dining table, featuring fun, creativity, humanities, production visits, and lectures. This example of Nextland Agriculture Cultural and Creative Tourism Factory shows that even a single product can create new business opportunities through the integration of creativity and culture.
Figure 1: Introduction of Nextland Agriculture Cultural and Creative Tourism Factory
（２）Packaging - Special Packaging Materials, Exhibiting Cultural Characteristics
A perfect product always comes with a good packaging. The packaging not only needs to meet the characteristics of the product, but it must also be noticed by the consumers. Comprehensive understanding and planning is needed on the visual effect and use of the products so that they get more popular because of the packaging. For the brand name image, local cultural characteristics can be incorporated to emphasize the unique characteristics of the product. Even the packaging materials can be designed with special attention to make the product stand out. For example, the product packaging of Luyao Ecology Mushrooms uses natural kraft paper, which not only conforms to the original local characteristics of the product, but also emphasizes the pursuit of natural and original flavors. The packaging of the "Mushroom Stories" biscuit (Fig. 2) is in the form of book volumes, so the agricultural product is not just an agricultural product. Creativity is incorporated into the traditional industry as well as the fun of life and the local management, realizing cultural regeneration so the company became a pioneer in industrial innovation.
Figure 2 Mushroom Stories (Courtesy of: Website of Luyao Ecology Mushrooms)
（３）Marketing--Deeply understand the native land and touch people’s heart with stories
The key lies in searching for local cultural history and heart-touching brand stories, trying to integrate this feature into the management of the brand, to develop stories with the image, to have affections connected to the product, to give life to the product, so that the brand reveals a strong human touch to win the heart of the consumers. Cheers magazine once interviewed the founder of "Green-in-hand" (Picture 3). Thirteen years ago, she received a pack of rice gift from a lady in Hualien and got the idea of rice marketing. She created the innovative brand "Green-in-hand" based on the stories of local small farmers. Each fresh pack of "farm rice" from Hualien has become a turning point. And every local small farmer has a story to share. The joint strength of the small farmers has added a deep human touch to this brand, and helped win a niche of competition.
Figure 3: Official website of "Green-in-hand"
III.The opportunities and threats for Agriculture x Cultural & Creative Industry
From early focus solely on characteristics of individual commodities, the Agriculture x Cultural & Creative Industry has shifted to the integration of local affections in various commodities and activities. This has indeed brought changes to many agricultural enterprises, expanding their base of customers, developing the uniqueness, and also achieving a breakthrough of the traditional framework of agriculture. This is indeed an applaudable achievement. On the other hand, there are still obstacles that hinder development. According to “How Creativity Industry Boosts a Colorful New World—Flowers of Tienwei Township,” a research report issued by Ching Cheng High School, many people are not clear about the definition of cultural and creative industry so that the actual implementation is hard to proceed due to different perceptions, and collaboration is hard for the lack of consensus. Short-term results are hard to reach and people would choose to quit when faced with unbearable pressures of economy and other aspects. However, in terms of long-term management, significant growth is witnessed in both the uniqueness and diversity of the products. Therefore, with good planning and upgraded knowledge, we can expect a bright future for agriculture with the incorporation of the cultural and creative industry.
Either transformation or maintaining the traditional pattern has its pros and cons. The point is to take a broader and long-term perspective to consider how to produce the best interest for ourselves. Young farmers nowadays, by the encouragement of government policies, are actively promoting the transformation of agriculture into that of culture & creativity, quality, and technology. During the transformation, however, a major concern is the aging and shortage of the agricultural population. Transformation can be a turning point to retain agricultural manpower and to create business opportunities in line with the current trends. Culture and creativity should serve as the core to integrate and enhance the value of agriculture so that Taiwan’s agriculture can continue to develop and achieve another momentum.