Agriculture mission in Guatemala wins international acclaim
By Huang Kuang-chun and Sofia Wu, CNA
July 26, 2009, 5:02 pm TWN
Panama City -- Taiwan's agriculture mission in Guatemala has won acclaim for its achievements in helping the Central American country improve farming technology and develop small farm projects, diplomatic sources said over the weekend.
The achievements have also attracted the attention of major agricultural research institutions from around the world, the sources said.
Among others, representatives of major agricultural research institutes in 12 Latin American countries and Spain visited Taiwan-Guatemala cooperative ventures on July 22, including a food processing factory, a dragon fruit orchard and an organic compost site.
Both Max Gonzalez, head of the Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science, and Hector Lopez, governor of Chimaltenango province where the research institute operates a branch, expressed gratitude for the Taiwan mission's outstanding contribution to their country's agricultural development over the years.
Taiwan's agricultural mission now posts two technicians and three diplomatic conscripts in Chimaltenango to teach and guide local farmers in planting crops and gaining food processing know-how.
Meanwhile, Gonzalo Ochaeta, vice minister of agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries of Guatemala, recently also led a group of senior Guatemalan officials and government advisers on a visit to a bamboo arts and crafts teaching center in Cuyuta City, which is also operated by Taiwan's agriculture mission.
The mission has promoted bamboo cultivation and crafts in Guatemala and the Cuyuta center has emerged as the best-equipped bamboo arts and crafts teaching center in Central America.
Besides offering courses on how to cultivate bamboo and make bamboo handicrafts, and providing bamboo furniture manufacturing technologies, the center now also focuses on offering bamboo architecture teaching services.
Under a bilateral cooperation project, Taiwan's agricultural mission has been using bamboo as the key material in building classrooms and low-cost housing units for schools in remote regions of the country and for hurricane victims.
In addition, the mission has provided 100,000 bamboo seedlings to promote bamboo cultivation under a rural development project in cooperation with the Guatemalan Presidential Office.
During his recent visit, Ochaeta said he was impressed by the accomplishments of various Taiwan-Guatemalan agricultural cooperation projects.
Noting that bamboo cultivation and utilization has great development potential in Guatemala, Ochaeta said his department will send promotional staff to the Cuyuta center for training as seed instructors to help spread banboo arts and crafts to every corner of the country.