>The program has come to a close, after all the memories made, experiences shared and laughs to remember we just wrapped up our last day in Taiwan. We started off with a tour of the wet market; this market was very different from the wet market in Malaysia. For instance this market was indoors, they used ice to keep meat products cold, and there was a lot less people and nasty smells in the air. Somehow people still managed to drive their scooters in the building.
From the market our group traveled to Wei Mon Industries; a company that specializes in bioplastics. This was an informative visit. We learned that bio-plastics are made from plant materials, not oils, so they are biodegradable, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Products made from bio-plastics include: cups, plates, eating utensils, cake and fruit trays, “to go” containers, and others just to name a few. At 60 degrees Celsius it would take 67 days for a cup to fully decompose, if left at a normal temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and outside it would take approximately 1-2 years. We also learned that the plastics are made from any high starch material. Wei Mon uses a lot of U.S. corn! About ten kernels of corn will yield one kernel of bio-plastic. This company is taking huge steps in helping to green up our planet, they are progressive agriculturalists who are looking at the potential of plants and helping to bring that potential to life.
From Wei Mon, our travels brought us to Taipei 101, the 2nd largest building in the world. We stepped on the world’s fastest elevator that brought us up to the 82 floor in less than 30 seconds. Let’s just say we were flat bookin’ it. Due to some rain today, our view of Taipei wasn’t that great but with the help of a hand guided tour headset we were able to get the general idea of what we were looking at.
Once back at the hotel we took advantage of some time to repack all of our stuff and try to stuff as much as we could into our bags. Some of us (mainly the girls) may have some issues when it comes to checking our bags tomorrow due to weight limits. One thing is for certain, this trip has been a great experience. We all know that agriculture is a global industry and being able to spend time here in Asia has opened our eyes to different agricultural practices, and industries in Ag. We can’t thank the United States Grain Council and The GRAINS Foundation enough for sponsoring this program. A special thanks to Clover Chang, the director of the U.S. Grain Council here in Taipei and Adel Yusupov the Southeast Asia Regional Director for taking time to travel with us, answer our questions and show us an unforgettable time. Thanks for all you do!
Tim Martini – Colorado State University
Amy Petersen – Utah State University