Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Irrigation system used at the Taiwanese Vegetable Experimental Farm


About three years ago, when I came in with our NGO the Belize Development Trust, we were astounded that the Taiwanese Vegetable Mission was not using any watering system for vegetable crops. They complained that the Central Farm Government bosses did not want them to use any form of irrigation, because they were concentrating on Milpa farmers who were poor.
I bit my tongue and did our usual method of DEVELOPMENT WORK and shut my mouth and set up our own hydroponic vegetable growing experiments. We favor development by EXAMPLE and in the case of Government bureaucracies, by EMBARRASSMENT. Three years later we are pretty much out of the vegetable experimental business in tropical Belize and had written numerous articles in the newspapers and published web pages on the subject for an international readership and written four books, now used by the CABINET as CLASSICS both at CABINET level and at the Agriculture College and now the whole vegetable growing system has turned around. There are now a lot of experiments in Greenhouse work and irrigation commercial systems.
I've watched the Taiwanese Mission seperate itself from the Central Farm group and more or less go their own way. They have tried various irrigation systems, from drip feeders, to overhead circular garden spray systems and seemed after three years to favor this drip feeder, inflatable collapsible plastic hose type, running off fixed pvc pipe water systems. You can see by the photos, they run pvc feed water pipes down the pathways, and then install flexible water drip feeder irrigation hose, to run along the vegetable beds. With shutoff controlling valves here and there. Since they have to till with a rotor tiller the vegetable beds, they have to be able to remove the flexible hose parts of the drip feeder before planting a different type of crop. It is not that this system is superior, but the limitations are materials. There is not a whole lot of variety in irrigation supplies for market gardening available in Belize. I tried to get some drip feeder stakes from Guatemala for my nurseries, but were unsuccessful and importing small amounts can get prohibitively expense. The Chinese Experimental plot is therefore, a choice of what is available in the AGRO STORES locally. Not necessarily what would be best. I cannot use this stuff in my nursery in bagged type growing pots. Nor can I get the equipment I need either to buy locally. I have to use a garden hose myself, which is expensive in water, time and labor. I'd give my mother away for a set of drip feeder stakes and spagheti hose available to buy in a local store.

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