Migrant workers from Thailand have become essential to farms in southern Taiwan that grow the aquatic vegetable known as the crested floatingheart in English.
Meinong district in the southern city of Kaohsiung is particularly known for farms that grow the vegetable, with about 100 hectares of dedicated planting area. These farms have had trouble finding enough farmhands due to the harsh working conditions involved in cultivating the vegetables.
It takes Thai migrant workers less than a week to learn about to pull up the long stems of the aquatic vegetable known as crested floatingheart in English.
The farm’s owner says that one of his Thai workers can now pull up over 30 kilos of stems in an hour.
These vegetables can be planted and harvested year around. However, every step from planting to harvesting and cleaning is done in a pool of mucky water, and the work, not surprisingly, finds few local takers.
To alleviate a labor shortage, the district has hired nine Thai migrant workers to help out.
A farmers’ association head says they have been hired on a trial basis.
With an aging population in rural areas, Taiwan is planning to introduce 3,000 migrant workers from abroad to these areas next year.