Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Grow-your-own sea cucumbers

Sea cucumbers have a high market value both as a food and a medicine in China and other parts of Asia. These sausage-shaped marine invertebrates have for centuries been collected in the shallow waters of the Pacific and South-East Asia. However, overexploitation in recent decades has left wild populations of sea cucumbers greatly depleted.

Since wild sea cucumbers have become hard to come by, there has been a growing interest in producing them using aquaculture techniques.

A new ACIAR publication, ‘Asia-Pacifictropical sea cucumber aquaculture’, brings together the Proceedings of a symposium held in New Caledonia last year, organised by ACIAR, together with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The publication includes a wealth of new research on aquaculture techniques, as well as reviewing hatchery production, sea-ranching, export markets and tenure issues. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Happy Seeder cuts smog, saves soil

New technologies to reduce pollution and increase soil fertility in rice-wheat crops are under the microscope in a new ACIAR Impact Assessment Series report.

The report, ‘Rice-wheat cropping systems in India and Australia, and the development of the Happy Seeder’, was published in April this year by ACIAR.

The Happy Seeder is an implement that attaches to the back of a tractor and allows the direct seeding of wheat into rice stubble. While direct seeders have existed for some time, the Happy Seeder allows the seed to be sown directly into combine-harvested rice stubble.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tim Purcell leaves lasting legacy

The latest publication in ACIAR’s Monograph series is the Indonesian version of Making value chains work better for the poor: a toolbook for practitioners of value chain analysis (ACIAR Monograph No. 148).

It is dedicated to Tim Purcell who tragically passed away on Sunday 11 March 2012 at his home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

As a Managing Editor and publisher of the original toolbook in English, Tim's collaborative and ‘open-door’ approach to sharing information freely made this latest ACIAR edition of the toolbook possible, and so easy.

Measuring impacts: looking at livelihoods

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results” Milton Friedman.

publication cover, IAS 78 http://aciar.gov.au/publication/IAS078
When attempting to evaluate whether ACIAR policies or programs 'achieve results' we're looking at more than whether the innovation has made an impact on a smallholder farmer's income.

The latest publication in our Impact Assessment Series has introduced a livelihoods-oriented methodology that can be used to assess the multidimensional poverty-reducing impacts of investments. The report outlines a mixed-method approach using a suite of quantitative and qualitative tools.

ACIAR CEO, Dr Nick Austin, introduces the report: A methodology for assessing the poverty-reducing impacts of Australia's international research.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Astounding images from PNG

Photojournalist Paul Jones recently visisted some of our project sites in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The superb images feature in a photo set on PNG and in one on PNG women agricultural researchers on our Flickr site.

The pictures capture examples of ACIAR's investment in PNG and how our work is making a difference to the lives of smallholder farmers and their communities.