Arable land is at a premium in Taiwan. Close to 70% of the island consists of rugged mountains and forests, with several hundred peaks reaching 3000m (9800 feet) or more. Taiwan’s farmers have a reputation for being thrifty, hard-working and resourceful. Some time ago I had the chance to climb the thousand steps up to Qi Wei mountain that rises out of the plains in the south. Barely making it to the top the view made me momentarily forget my aching legs. I now understood the Taiwan farmer’s reputation. Neatly laid out rice paddies, green houses and vegetables fields were stitched together like a patchwork quilt and not a scrap of land was wasted.