Science and practice to promote sustainable agriculture

The experience of two students who graduated in agriculture from EES University allows them to learn and share the knowledge they have gained with farmers in the El Treviño region

by Wilfredo Diaz / William A. Hernandez
June 22, 2024 – 21:37

Alejandra Paredes and Juan Bosco visited the halls of the University of El Salvador (UES) to study agronomy, but as graduates, in recent weeks they have lived a rich and unique experience, participating in a series of sustainable gardening practices in El Treviño, Metapán, in the west of the country.

In this place, they are both active in maintaining a nursery that includes 14 agricultural beds, on an area of ​​​​140 square meters. They grew ornamental and aromatic plants, nutritious vegetables, tomatoes, chives, pickles and chili peppers. They add water four times a day to their Pony and Valiente tomato plants. They examine the plants to see if they have pests, and the size and weight of the product.

“My work routine in the nursery and communities is interesting. From Monday to Friday, I wake up at 5 a.m., have breakfast, and start my agricultural tasks. From 7:00 a.m. until 11 a.m. I prepare shoes,” says Alejandra, an agricultural engineering graduate. Work, equipment, water. I join at 11:00 to monitor the vegetables we have grown, and from 11:00 to 12:00 I organize the crop data.”

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“My first task is to check the growth of the tomato plant and water it. I do soil measurements, check the vegetables that we planted two months ago, and we have already had positive results. We fill the water tanks and clean the filters. It is a beautiful, fun and sacrificial job, working under the sun for a long time. He explains “It takes courage to be away from family and friends for six months to advance professionally,” he said, wiping the sweat from his forehead.

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“I resume my activity at two in the afternoon, and finish my work at seven at night. These are the best moments of my life. “It helps me see life from another professional perspective and do things better every day,” he adds.

Each student has his or her own responsibilities in the nursery and communities. Alejandra controls pests, water and takes care of crops, as part of her research. Meanwhile, his colleague, also a student at the University of the East of England, Juan, visits farmers in the area to share his technical, academic and scientific knowledge. In addition, the program teaches them how to take soil samples by hand, so they can know their land before planting it and try to make the most of its potential.

“This project to grow vegetables and use water follows a scientific approach. We share knowledge with farmers in the area, which helps improve their production. Farmers are very interested in learning, and they trust us. “There are things they don’t know, like the depth of planting, the drip irrigation system and the quality of the land on which they grow In it,” explains Juan.

“Every day, we have different events and we have to solve them. Agricultural engineering students at UES, when they have this opportunity to do a research internship of this kind, they do not let it go, because this is where the real professional training is. The theory that they offer us is what Except as a rule, and things change on the ground,” concludes Bosco, who was satisfied with this experience to complete his preparations in agricultural engineering.

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Project in El Treviño
Both graduates are part of the project “Technological innovation and scientific research to promote sustainable horticulture in the El Treviño region of the Italian International Institute for Latin America (IILA) and the Treviño Plan”, which gave the opportunity to two agronomy graduates from UES to carry out their research training.

Through what they have learned, they will visit farmers in the region and teach them scientific techniques to develop sustainable gardening.

As part of their research, they built a Casa Mala nursery and grew vegetables and aromatic plants. As a result of two months of cultivation, they already have a high-quality product; They then visit communities in the area to give talks on how to improve crops.

When a student undertakes professional practice, research training or social hours in a private company, UES experimental field, government institutions or international collaboration, he or she is assigned an advisor for a period of six months to verify the assigned work. When they finish, they are evaluated, make corrections, and determine whether they are ready to present their research publicly and graduate as engineers.

Nelson Bernabe Granados Alvarado, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of the East of England, is the one who verified the research work conducted by Alejandra Paredes and Juan Bosco.

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Granados Alvarado also relied in his work on Italian student Teresa Lorati and Nicola Michelone, Doctor of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Bologna – Italy and coordinator of the IILA-Plan Trifinio project. “I thank the doctor for the opportunity he has provided to the students of his Alma Mater to conduct their research training at his institution,” he says.

“We have to conduct academic exchanges with students from the universities of Bologna and Padua, so that they can visit the experimental station and share their knowledge with our future professionals,” adds the teacher.

Myrtle Frost

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