Dr. Chien-Hui Syu, a Taiwanese expert on soil analysis, interprets soil profile during the field training.

In order to provide soil analysis services for farmers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Chien-Hui Syu, a Taiwanese expert on soil analysis, was invited by the Taiwan Technical Mission to visit SVG from May 9 to 23.

During his two-week stay, Syu, accompanied by the officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, fully exchanged views with many local farmers from areas across the country, including Prospect, Argyle, Evesham, Rivulet, Rillan Hill, Vermont, Peter’s Hope, Belleisle, Wallilabou, Orange Hill, Rabacca, and Langley Park.

Syu also held field trainings and workshops to share his expertise with farmers and the related agricultural officers.

The topics of the workshops included soil fertility management, nutrition deficiency diagnosis, application of GIS (Geographic Information System) on soil information, soil investigation and soil analysis methods.

Chun-Chun Huang, the specialist of the Taiwan Technical Mission who arranged Syu’s visit, said that the Taiwan Technical Mission has been collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture on the implementation of the “Project for Strengthening Framers’ Organisations and Improving Fruit and Vegetable Production Technology in St. Vincent and the Grenadines” since 2015.

The Mission is convinced that Syu’s efforts will make significant contribution to the project.

Dr. Chien-Hui Syu and local farmers discuss soil analysis and properties.

Huang further indicated that the mission and the Ministry of Agriculture have worked hand in hand, under the project, to establish the soil laboratory at the Plant Protection and Quarantine in Campden Park.

The lab, aiming to provide high-quality service on soil analysis to SVG farmers, is designed not only to analyse soil but also to advise local farmers on the usage of fertilizer based on the result of soil analysis.

Syu played a critical role on the establishment and operation of the soil lab, Huang added.

So far, there are more than 400 samples of soil analysed at the Lab.

Huang emphasized that the Lab has offered at least 300 reports with the results of soil analysis to local farmers. Every report comprised the result of soil analysis and the advice on the usage of fertilizer specifically for each farmer’s field.

Renrick Williams, the agriculture instructor of the Plant Protection and Quarantine of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the training by Syu was informative.

It helped to provide a better understanding of visual diagnosis in plants with nutrient deficiencies in younger and older leaves. Soil profile investigation and testing of soil texture by feel can indicate from the field if the soil is more sandy or clay. He also anticipated that the mission and the Ministry of Agriculture could further cooperate on the soil analysis to benefit local farmers.

Syu is the Assistant Researcher of the Agricultural Chemistry Division, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Council of Agriculture. He has visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines three times since 2016 and was very glad to be part of the agricultural cooperation between Taiwan and SVG, Huang said.

One reply on “Taiwanese soil expert visits St. Vincent”

  1. Duke DeArment says:

    This is certainly good news. I find it very sad that the government is just now getting around to doing soil analysis. This is normally the first step in farming and we have been failing from the first step. When I first came to Saint Vincent and bought land wanting to start with a soil analysis before deciding on certain crops. I was told that the soil testing lab was in the process of moving to Campden Park. That move took approximately 10 years and afterwards, in spite of having the equipment and a trained expert, we were still unable to do the analysis, shocking! If we, an agricultural nation wanted soil tested we had to send samples to tourist countries to get it tested. Shameful! We are starting to do things for Agriculture, but we still pay far less attention to agriculture than we do Tourism, which has all our priorities.
    We should now triple our efforts in the department of Plant Protection (to include soils);because that is further infrastructure needed to build a healthy agrarian sector, which is nevertheless failing because we are not paying attention to things we should.
    I have been concentrating on Bio-Diversity. On a small budget, in less than 10 years, I have been able to introduce far more new species of crops and useful plants than the Taiwanese have in all the years they have been here; not just Coffee and Avocados. I can even do far more but we as a nation have to be willing to take the ball and run with it instead of sitting and doing next to nothing or putting up roadblocks to development such as our very bad Customs policy.

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