Wednesday, March 21, 2018

22/03/2018: Humility, the great challenge of Internationalisation

By Antonio Garza de Yta, Ph.D. Rector, Universidad Technógica del Mar de Tamaulipas Bicentenario

I had the opportunity to be with several groups of producers and academics in past meetings and after intense dialogues with many of them the subject of this column arose.

First of all, I would like, as always, to express that I am not the owner of the absolute truth, but I believe that there are concepts that are indispensable for the aquaculture development of the country and the region; and one of them is humility.

In principle, we have to accept that Mexico is not a giant of aquaculture, that we only produce around 200 thousand tons in controlled systems and that not everything we do is the right thing to do. We have to admit that we do not know many things, that not everything is done, that there is a world full of possibilities and that, although we have been in this business for many decades, we still have a lot to learn.

This I say after listening to the reports of many Government Institutions and Research Centers, of several countries of the region, that report actions and achievements that are simply incongruent with the reality that is lived every day.

A simple example: All the countries of the region report activities of extension in aquaculture that would lead us to think that we have the subject covered, when in fact most of this is done by people who are not qualified to do their work and in Very few occasions are performed by people truly specialised in our area.

It is not about sending hundreds of people to the field, but about sending the key people to transform the activity, to promote new technologies, to open the minds of the producers. An extensionist is much more than a technician who raises surveys; an extensionist is a generator of change.

This is just one of many topics; I could go into several others, but it would be pointless to write a somber column. Those who know me and / or read me know that with me it is about how I do, never about why not. I touch the point, because in order to take that great step, the one we are all looking for, where Latin America becomes a leading actor in world aquaculture, we have to open our minds, and not only to the local, but to the whole world. Internationalisation will be one of the keys for us to increase our efficiency, reduce the incidence of diseases, optimise resources and consolidate value chains; among many other aspects.

Personally, life has taken me to many parts of the world, and I have seen first-hand how some problems that seem impossible to solve, and are only anecdotes in another part of the world. So let's accept our reality. We still have a long way to go on this long road to greatness. Let us admit our weaknesses, recognise our shortcomings and accept our mistakes, only this way we can strengthen ourselves to take care of them, and remedy them.

Read the full article, HERE.

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