The Department of Plant Industry, College of Agriculture, is a combination of Agronomy and Horticulture Department of previous National Pingtung Institute of Agriculture (NPIA) in 1991. The Institute was upgraded and renamed as National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in 1997. The original Agronomy Department was established in 1954 and the Horticulture Department was established in 1974. Current student enrollments include a MS graduate program that was established in 2002 and two classes of four-year undergraduate program in day school, and one class of four-year undergraduate program in night school. The faculties also contribute and participate in PhD program in Graduate Institute of Plant Science since 2005.
The objective of the department is to educate student's skills in production, management and practice of agronomical and horticultural crops, so to meet the requirements of the government's agricultural policies and to promote the development of crop industry. The university is located in Southern Taiwan with special tropical climate conditions for various economically important crops. This feature is the most prominent that is not present in other similar universities. Research projects and student training are emphasized on reflecting this special feature.
1. Applied biotechnology and healthy plant production
2. Plant Physiology
3. Special Crops and Medicinal Herbs
4. Aromatic herbs
5. Tropical Fruit Crops
8. Post harvest of horticultural products
9. Organic Agriculture and nutrition management
The courses of the department vary a lot. Great emphasis is placed on practical training. All professional courses include practical work in order to train students' solid techniques and experiences by practical exercise. Besides some basic courses on crop cultivation and production, flexible adjustment of related courses or those oriented to current industries are offered, such as, Horticulture Production Under Construction, Automated Crop Culture, Orchid Production, Storage and Handling of Crop Products, Computer Applications in Agriculture, Plant Biotechnology and so on. A Project Seminar is offered for all seniors. Students can choose whatever plants they want to study on and do experiments with their instructors. Under the sun and with the sweat, students create, grow, and give new life to plants and further comprehend intuitively the hard work of real farmers and enjoy the joyfulness of harvest.
Local and international cooperation in teaching and research
The Department maintains close relationship with other universities, private company, and growers either in Taiwan or abroad. Each faculty conducts more than 2 projects in average annually either from Council of Agriculture or National Science Council. Survey of industry, company and other governmental agents by teaching program are promoted and conducted regularly. More than one quarter courses are offered bilingual to local and foreign students respectively.
The area of the main facility is about 4400 m2. Besides basic teaching and laboratory equipment, there are many fine instruments for use in research projects, including gas chromatograph, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, high-performance liquid chromatograph, photosynthesis meter, rheometer, dewpoint microvolt meter, color and color difference meter, light microscope, dissecting microscope with camera, inverted microscope, microtome, microwave tissue digestion system, flame photometer, Kjeldahl digestion instrument, thermocycler, DNA image analysis system, ultracentrifuge, high speed centrifuge, etc. In addition, there is a horticultural practice farm (1.5 ha), one orchard farm (26 ha), one experimental research farm (5 ha), two greenhouses (1000 m2), ten screenhouses (2000 m2), and seventeen pipehouses (1500 m2).
Besides intensifying students' practical production techniques to cope with industry's advancement and local agriculture, the Department plans to promote advanced research and development of tropical agriculture. Therefore, the goal of the Plant Industry Department is to focus on tropical floriculture and nursery production, tropical and new fruit exploitation, automation techniques, applied plant biotechnology, herb and medicinal plant production, and other newly emerging areas.