NEIPU, TAIWAN: Researchers from the Department of Land Manage-ment, Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) participated in a Two-way Research programme at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), Taiwan, which is also the Secretariat for University Network for Tropical Agriculture (UNTA), recently.
The short-term research aimed at providing exposure to lecturers in the field of agriculture on land development methods, and management of waste and organic materials in Taiwan, particularly in suburban areas such as Neipu.
Lecturer at the Land Management Department, Faculty of Agriculture, UPM, Dr. Daljit Singh, said that water and soil conservation model by NPUST is interesting as it also takes into account water flow in road constructions.
He said that in some locations where the slopes were not too steep, drains were used as vehicle routes due to a relatively narrow area at these locations.
“Drains were built in an ‘L’ shape to prevent rainwater from overflowing onto the roads. At locations with high and steep slopes, holes with a depth ranging between 1 and 3 meters were built to slow down water flow,” he said.
He added that greenhouses in the area were not built on flat land. Instead, they were built according to topographic suitability, and rainwater was collected in a buffer pool which also served as a recreational area for students.
Among the lecturers who participated in the research expedition were Dr Samsuri Abd Wahid, Dr Susilawati Kasim and Dr Arina Shukor.
A lecturer at the Department of Soil and Water Conservation, NPUST, Dr Jie-Lun Chiang, said that settlements in Neipu were mostly built on flat land.
“Monitoring water flow is very important because although the area receives short rainfall, the high distribution causes low-lying areas to flood,” he said.
He said the district of Pingtung experienced a fairly warm rainy season while the dry season is highly humid with annual temperatures ranging between 15-33 °C.
“In our outdoor laboratory, we developed the best module to control water flow from the highlands to the lowlands.
“At high-gradient areas, we build rather deep drains to reduce the speed of rainwater coming from higher ground. This technique also reduces the impact of soil erosion
and erosion in low-lying areas,” he said.
UNTA was established to establish cooperation in strengthening the fields of education and research among tropical agricultural countries through staff placement. A total of 26 universities from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Australia, Pakistan,
Spain and Germany are UNTA’s members. – UPM