The XXXI International Course on Oil Palm

After the record attendance in the International Course on Oil Palm we held last year, we decided to be a bit more conservative this year, and we restricted the spaces a bit to 30 students so as not to risk lowering the quality. The result was very satisfactory, because we had closer interaction with each participant, which is why we decided that 30 is the ideal number.

With the completion of course number XXXI, accumulated participation has reached 1,123 people from more than 22 countries, which fills us with pride and at the same time encourages us to maintain quality and aim ever higher to meet the expectations of the people who trust us to increase their knowledge about oil palm cultivation.

As in previous years, the emphasis of the course was on the importance of agronomic practices as the basis for success with any commercial oil palm plantation. At the end of this course and the previous ones we have a feeling of having achieved our purpose when the students leave us to participate in the operations of their companies. However, this feeling is always accompanied by the nostalgia of seeing new friends leave with whom we hope to maintain contact to strengthen friendships and the start or continuation of business relationships.

One comment we heard from many of the participants in these activities is about the enthusiasm shown by all ASD staff (teachers as well as field workers) to make students feel at ease. This is true and it demonstrates the commitment of all the workers to the goals of ASD and the awareness that our raison d'etre is our customers. Much of the success of the course lies in the mystique with which our field workers organize field practices.

The course lasted approximately three weeks in which the participants received theoretical talks, engaged in field practices and enjoyed several sports and social activities. The following pictures illustrate these activities:

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Participants of the XXXI International Course on Oil Palm in Costa Rica

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Dissection of a palm to study phyllotaxy and floral development is a key practice for the students to learn about the object of their study and understand its anatomy and physiology

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Hands on: practice filling bags for the prenursery and nursery

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Time for a photo during a field practice session

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Recreational activities: the course soccer team beat a local team

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Recreational activities: a visit to Manuel Antonio beach

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Time to practice new dance steps, or maybe avoid the ants

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Opportunity to make new friends

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A field practice session

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Graduation activity

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ASD field personnel (commitment and discipline): they make many of the field practice sessions possible