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Agricultural Specialist Awarded Outstanding Diplomatic Award for African Service

Liu Wen-li, a 65-year old agricultural specialist at the ICDF-Taiwan mission in Senegal, was awarded the Outstanding Diplomat Award by MOFA last week, culminating a lengthy career full of successes and challenges in Africa.

Trained at the Taiwan Provincial Chiayi Agri-Vocational School and having taken programs at the Department of Agricultural Extension at National Taiwan University, Liu began his career in the Ivory Coast in 1965 before moving on to Swaziland, the Central African Republic and Senegal. Since 1961, Taiwan has dispatched 13,000 specialists overseas to implement foreign development programs.

Liu has promoted the deep-water direct-sowing technique of rice cultivation, as well as introducing the high-quality Taichung Sheng No. 10 rice to the region. As a result of these moves, production in the area has increased 20 percent, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs records.

ICDF Assistant Secretary General Dr. Pai-Po Lee praised Liu for his contribution to agricultural development.

''After a year of work, with only Liu Wen-li, we had successfully extended cultivation to 5,000 hectares in northern Senegal,'' Lee said.

When Liu first arrived in northern Senegal, his welcome was less than warm. The locals were skeptical of Taiwan's decision to send a single technician to the region rather than invest money. They also questioned Liu's written analysis of agricultural problems. These included the poor qualify of the rice, high production costs and a market monopoly.

However, his hard work and expertise soon won over the locals. In October, local officials singled out Taiwan as the only country in over 100 countries that has provided any real lasting agricultural achievements in Senegal

Liu attributed part of his success to the work of other countries in northern Senegal.

''I am lucky to have been able to work with the infrastructure left behind by other foreign agricultural missions,'' Liu said.

Liu, one of 11 recipients of the Outstanding Diplomat Award, has had to contend with malaria, the loss of his colleagues and political instability in the region. Liu also reveived a Service Award from the ICDF.

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  • Date:2002/12/31