|A flower garden in Beijing. (Photo from ebeijing.gov.cn)??|
Barbados can learn a number of lessons from China as it relates to flower production.
One such lesson is the possibility of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) setting up a tissue culture lab to propagate plants using cell division.
These were some of the points shared by Technical Officer at the NCC, Ryan Als, after he returned from a three-month training workshop on Flower Production Technology in China.
"The course has opened my eyes to how we can more effectively utilise the resources we have," he said, noting the NCC had more resources than some persons living in China.
He explained that the course looked at areas including the production and export of orchids, anthuriums and lilies; bamboo, its uses and how it is propagated; forestry and reforestation, the export potential of flowers and plants; the economics with respect to each country and greenhouse technology.
Mr. Als noted that while Barbados used a lot of automation in its greenhouse technology, the Chinese used tissue culture technology by propagating plants using cell division. "Barbados propagates by cuttings and seeds where the NCC would buy the seeds, but it can easily set up a tissue culture lab," he suggested.
The Technical Officer said some nurseries in Barbados were already using tissue culture which could be seen as an enhancement to greenhouse functions. "It really brought back to the fore what we can do with limited resources," he stressed.
He recalled that most small businesses and nurseries in China comprised small farmers whose main drive was export. Another area which Mr. Als said he learnt about was bonsai (manipulating plants to make shapes using light to turn the branches).
The conceputalisation of the Chinese gardens was another aspect that caught the attention of the NCC’s Technical Officer. He explained that most Chinese gardens contained stones, water, trees and buildings like gazebos.
He pointed out that the Chinese were very structured in the way they did things, and used every opportunity to take advantage of the natural features of the land to make their gardens.
One culture which Mr. Als wanted Barbados to "adopt" from China was the way in which its residents used the parks. "It was evident that the Chinese have a lot of respect for their environment. It felt like a religion. ??Everyone goes to the park daily, but especially on Sundays and sit and meditate. The elderly do tai chi, dance and sword dances. This is a common practice throughout the day," he reminisced.
Noting that most Barbadians went to the parks on bank holidays and weekends, the Technical Officer encouraged them to go daily and to treat them with respect.