Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Agriculture scores at Camp Vogel

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Wander Vogel camps have successfully stimulated young people's interest in agriculture, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday in a press conference.

A total of 138 participants aged 18 to 35, majority of whom were male, took part in the camps in northern, central, southern and eastern Taiwan early this month.

About 85 percent of the participants hold a college degree, while 8.9 percent have a master's degree, the council said.

COA Chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said that the council was surprised to see so many youngsters, or about 92 percent of the participants, express an interest in going into agriculture after joining the camp.

Su added that while many of these young people would like to become farmers, many did not know how to get started.

As such, the council is going to offer advanced courses on cultivating potted plants, mushrooms,floriculture and vegetable plantations in October to help them build a "nest in agriculture."

Experienced farmers and experts will be invited to speak on running a farm, managing finances and applying for loans and subsidies, he said.

Liao Che-kuan (廖哲寬), a graduate of the Naval Academy, said that after the camp, he realized that devoting oneself to agriculture takes "perseverance."

"In agriculture, you can touch living things and feel the life in them," Liao said.

"In return, you can see them grow," he said.

Li Wan-shu (李宛書), a 22-year-old business management major from Yunlin County, said the camp revived her interest in agriculture.

Li said she witnessed the diversity of agriculture in the camp and would like to find a way to apply her professional training in business management to Hami melon production and marketing in Yunlin County in the future.

Pan Hsin-tso (潘信佐), a primary school art teacher, said that what aroused her interest in the camp was its course on the production of fertilizer.

"Though normally we wouldn't pay attention to manure, it is actually part of the ecological circle and sustains the environment," she said.

Pan said she hoped to combine her passion for education and agriculture in her future profession.

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