Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Better livestock management behind a remarkable tale of success

Mr. Cha Ben and his wife manage a 3 hectare farm in Tram Kok District in Takeo Province of Cambodia. Their achievements as livestock producers are a remarkable tale of success, and an example of the benefits of adopting new technologies in the rural Cambodian environment.

Since 2008 an ACIAR project has been working with village producers to compare the effects of introducing a range of health and production practices. The aim is to increase producers’ income by improving animal husbandry through better nutrition and reducing the impact of livestock diseases.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Thinking outside the square to increase impact

Livestock diseases have a big impact on countries and people in the Mekong. They stop livestock movement, cause the loss of productive livestock and restrict trade. Some diseases can also be transmitted to people.
Every year thousands of livestock are traded between Mekong countries, potentially spreading serious diseases. As an indication, in 2008-09 up to 15,000 head of cattle per month were reported to have transited from Thailand through southern Laos into Vietnam.

Although the trade on this route has now dwindled to a trickle — mainly because of changes in exchange rates that made the trade less profitable — animals still move in large numbers to different destinations. The common factor in this trade is the trader and the trader networks that facilitate it.

The livestock trade in the Mekong is a potential risk in the spread of serious diseases such as foot and mouth disease or classical swine fever. What can be done to manage that risk?

Friday, 6 July 2012

First impressions, lasting impressions

Alex Henderson, ACIAR Work Experience Student
Alex Henderson documents her 'impressions of ACIAR'
after a week of work experience
We can contact people across the world with mere clicks of a button and send humans into space... short of flying cars, this is the almost-magical future that was envisioned wistfully in bygone eras. Yet the science fiction wonder world is only bright on the surface, as for all our fantastic technology and medical science, there are still huge parts of the world that are impoverished, uneducated and starving. Surely something in that just can’t be right.

ACIAR exists to right that painful wrong, working to not just feed the world but make sure the world can feed itself. The founder’s motto is, appropriately:

Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime’.
(Chinese proverb)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

O Canada, you give with glowing hearts

Back in the 1970s when a committee was appointed to investigate how Australian agricultural research could be deployed in the aid program, one model was seen as being suitable – Canada’s International Development Research Centre

It shouldn’t surprise that both Canada and Australia want to contribute aid, and have been giving back to those less fortunate for some time. Both countries share similar heritages (established under British rule during the days of Empire), and similar places in the world (developed, middle power countries).

3 minute video: Australian's commenting on our expenditure on foreign aid, World Vision Australia.
I was in Canada at the end of 2010 and was surprised by the extent of media coverage around foreign aid and people giving something back. Pleasantly surprised, because the coverage was largely positive and focused on achievements and outcomes. And not the flow of dollars.