Saturday, November 9, 2013
FORD FOUNDATION-LSU-KPM TRIUMVIRATE
In the late 60's under the Ford Foundation project several professors and lecturers from the Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, USA were in liaison with Kolej Pertanian Malaya (KPM, popularly known as College of Agriculture), Serdang to help in research and teaching. They were mainly from the Departments of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Extension. Dr. Leon Standifer from the Department of Horticulture was one of them that I came to know sometimes in 1972.
Dr. Leon Standifer
Main building of College of Agriculture where the office of Principal was located.
One of the policies when Dr. Mahathir became the Minister of Education in the early 70s was to send students to study agriculture overseas in larger numbers. Dr. Rashdan Baba was the Principal of the College of Agriculture aided by a fearsome righthand man En. Mohd Noor Ismail, the Farm Manager.
Dr. Rashdan Baba
Dr. Mohd Noor Ismail
Thousands of students benefited from Mahathir's policy. I left with a batch of 20 of college mates who just finished the 3-year Diploma course for LSU at end of December 1973 to study horticulture at advanced standing, direct to junior year.
At one time in mid 70s there were more than 200 students from the College studying at LSU. In fact many KPM students were in many other states in the US, California, Florida, North Carolina to name a few taking up agriculture or agriculture related courses. The World Bank was instrumental in providing loans to the governmental institutions.
The Student Union is a meeting place for Malaysian students.
Sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
Rice farm in Louisiana.
The agricultural graduates from the various US universities later joined UPM, MARDI, and other institutions and thus formed the core of highly trained agricultural professionals.
Research in cocoa led to high yielding planting materials in Malaysia.
The Ford Foundation-LSU-KPM triumvirate not only played a major role to help develop modern agriculture in Malaysia but also set as a model of collaboration for other institutions to follow.