Last Wednesday, officials announced that Hong Kong will produce 4,000 more tons of vegetables a year once an 80-hectare agricultural park is completed. This will be a rise from the current annual harvest of 14,900 tons. However, the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department has rejected calls from farmers to be allowed to live at the site, as is currently the case, saying officials want to maximise the agricultural use of the land.
“There will be dormitories of about 150 sq ft for the farmers to rest in. But they can’t live there. You can’t have your whole family living there,” said Peter Ma Wai-chung, acting assistant director of agriculture.
The park will be in Kwu Tung South in the New Territories, near where a new-town project is to start later this year, uprooting hundreds of families, including those of farmers. The farmers have been offered an option to continue farming there, but they have said the requirement for them to live off-site is unrealistic.
The government will seek funding from the Legislative Council in the second quarter of this year for the first phase of the project. If successful, construction will start in the third quarter, and be completed towards the end of 2020.
The size of the site in the first phase will be about 10 hectares, and the government will seek HK$510 million from the legislature to buy the private lands on the site and another HK$176 million for the construction.