Thursday, February 5, 2009

Taiwan Foreign Aid to Belize and Onion Leeks !

Tropical fruit of Belize
Miguel and helper showing me his version of the Taiwanese onion LEEK.

The guy on the right is Miguel, he is in charge of the experimental vegetable growing plots for TAIWAN, here in Belize. Currently he is doing greenhouse experiments and variety experiments. We asked him to do LENTILS for us as well. We had asked the administration at Central Farm Research Station to make this a formal request, but after a month they had neglected to do so. What he was showing me and the wife, was his Taiwanese version of the onion leek. This one he has, does not have a bulb, or a bottom white part you eat, but what you do is eat the grass like leaves. It actually looks like grass, but has a strong aroma of onion. We do grow LEEKS, but the ones we grow, you only use the bulb on the bottom. Anyway, to make a long story short, he gave us a couple of bunches of his variety and we will pot them and try them in our nursery and eventually eat them.
This technical mission is going on 18 years now. It is the longest lasting and probably the most effective program of all programs of FOREIGN AID ever done in Belize. It is funded by the International Cooperation and Development Fund of TAIWAN.
The Technical Mission has a RICE project. They are trying different varieties and a seed production system. The HORTICULTURE project is the one I'm involved with, they are doing vegetables, a relatively new science in Belize and my own TEXTBOOK is now the standard guide for development research in Belize. The mission is also helping the University of Belize to organize the tissue culture training program with micropropagation. There is also the agro-processing for tropical fruits and foods. Mostly they do a school feeding program using dehydrated fruit snacks in plastic bags. They are slowly effecting the upgrading of local food processing technology. There is another program they have with the local Community College system, which is still basically in infancy, until the population grows some more in about ten years. They do vocational training in food science for processing technology with student help. All of these programs are intended to promote Belize Economic Development as the population grows and assist entrepreneurial employment social opportunities. There is an Information and Communications Technology Center in the small national capital of Belmopan. There is also five long term volunteers assisting in various economic development programs, including the University of Belize automation system and training of librarians.
There is no other FOREIGN AID from any first world industrial country to match the assistance that TAIWAN is giving to Belize. They are vastly appreciated here in Belize !

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