Today students from SHU and TEC met at the university. We started with an introduction to the school of agronomy. The focus was on applied research that answers important questions to help out the local farming community and the industry associated with farming in Costa Rica. Meanwhile there is a push to develop the technology to improve and increase production quality of local agricultural products.
For example one of the current research projects undertaken at TEC is to develop a way to extract and purify a specific type of fungus which is utilized to enhance the organic matter decomposition of waste products. Organic waste products are a haven for a type of fly which affects the dairy farms so by reducing the amount of organic matter you are thereby reducing the total amount of flies being born and therefore helping the dairy farms.
A brief discussion followed about the conflict between large industry based agriculture and small local production and functioning in a market driven economy.
Following our discussion, we went on a fantastic tractor-bus tour of the university campus including the pig and dairy farms which are used for education and research at TEC. Students had the opportunity to see baby pigs and pet young cows. We visited an experimental forest where students tried fresh papaya and sugar cane. On the way back to lunch we stopped to take pictures of a 5-ft iguana.
Following lunch, we visited the crocodile enclosure in which more than a few dozen large and small crocodiles reside. The students learned about the study of the crocodile population, fed them, and even got to hold a small crocodile.
It was really impressive to see the way students engaged in the interactive and hands on experience!