Agriculture mission in Guatemala wins international acclaim

Taiwan News
By Huang Kuang-chun and Sofia Wu
Central News Agency 2009-07-26 04:08 PM

Panama City, July 25 (CNA) Taiwan's agriculture mission in Guatemala has won acclaim for its achievements in helping the Central American country improve farming technology and develop small farm projects, diplomatic sources said over the weekend.

The achievements have also attracted the attention of major agricultural research institutions from around the world, the sources said.

Among others, representatives of major agricultural research institutes in 12 Latin American countries and Spain visited Taiwan-Guatemala cooperative ventures on July 22, including a food processing factory, a dragon fruit orchard and an organic compost site.

Both Max Gonzalez, head of the Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science, and Hector Lopez, governor of Chimaltenango province where the research institute operates a branch, expressed gratitude for the Taiwan mission's outstanding contribution to their country's agricultural development over the years.

Taiwan's agricultural mission now posts two technicians and three diplomatic conscripts in Chimaltenango to teach and guide local farmers in planting crops and gaining food processing know-how.

Meanwhile, Gonzalo Ochaeta, vice minister of agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries of Guatemala, recently also led a group of senior Guatemalan officials and government advisers on a visit to a bamboo arts and crafts teaching center in Cuyuta City, which is also operated by Taiwan's agriculture mission.

The mission has promoted bamboo cultivation and crafts in Guatemala and the Cuyuta center has emerged as the best-equipped bamboo arts and crafts teaching center in Central America.
Besides offering courses on how to cultivate bamboo and make bamboo handicrafts, and providing bamboo furniture manufacturing technologies, the center now also focuses on offering bamboo architecture teaching services.

Under a bilateral cooperation project, Taiwan's agricultural mission has been using bamboo as the key material in building classrooms and low-cost housing units for schools in remote regions of the country and for hurricane victims.

In addition, the mission has provided 100,000 bamboo seedlings to promote bamboo cultivation under a rural development project in cooperation with the Guatemalan Presidential Office.
During his recent visit, Ochaeta said he was impressed by the accomplishments of various Taiwan-Guatemalan agricultural cooperation projects.

Noting that bamboo cultivation and utilization has great development potential in Guatemala, Ochaeta said his department will send promotional staff to the Cuyuta center for training as seed instructors to help spread banboo arts and crafts to every corner of the country.

Ceviche, Seviche


Ceviche is a form of citrus-marinated seafood appetizer, popular in mainly Latin American countries, such as South America, Guatemala, Mexico, and etc.For the most part everybody has there own variation of this dish, but for the most part it is a citrus-based mixture, with lemons and limes being the most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or "cooks" the fish without heat. Traditional style ceviche was marinated up to 3 hours. Modern style ceviche usually has a very short marinating period. With the appropriate fish, it can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.

Ceviche Recipes Made From Scallops (Scallop Seviche)

Clean scallops and put in a colander. Pour boiling water over them and let drain. Mix the onion and hot pepper (chopped very fine), garlic, mustard pickle, oregano, and vinegar. Put scallops into this mixture and let marinate for 30 minutes. Then add salt, pepper, olive oil, catsup, and lime juice. The lime juice should cover the mixture. Place in a glass container, cover and let stand in refrigerator 24 hours before eating. (Stir with a wooden spoon from time-to-time. Some metal spoons will tarnish from the acids.)

1 1/2 pounds scallops (Bay scallops preferred)

1 hot pepper

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup lime juice (or more if needed)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, mashed

2 teaspoons mustard pickle

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons catsupsalt

and pepper to taste

Simple Ceviche Ingrid Hofman


1 pound yellowtail snapper or sea bass fillets, cut into

1/2-inch pieces

1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

3 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon seeded and finely chopped jarred aji amarillo peppers or fresh habanero

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, for garnish

Canchita, Recipe follows


In a large mixing bowl, combine the fish with the onion, lime juice, and chile; season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine, being sure to coat the fish with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes, do not marinate longer or the acids from the lime will make the fish mushy. Serve cold with cilantro and canchita on top.