Monday, 23 December 2013

Success stories of socioeconomic research in Papua New Guinea

A recent workshop in Papua New Guinea (PNG) brought Australian and PNG project personnel together to learn from current and recent ACIAR socioeconomic work. Dr Caroline Lemerle, ACIAR’s Agricultural Systems Management research program manager, describes some of the successes of this work...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Farming in the face of adversity, with improved wheat yields in Afghanistan

A new report shows how the Australian Government and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have linked together in one of the world’s most difficult environments, and are making a real difference to Afghan farmers and their families.
2 Afghani children holding wheat stalks
Afghan children with harvested wheat

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Doing well by doing good: Crawford Fund report released

A study 'Doing Well by Doing Good, International agricultural research – how it benefits Australia as well as developing countries' was released today by the Crawford Fund. The report analyses the benefits to Australia from investments in agricultural research and food security as part of the Australian Government’s aid program. The Crawford Fund’s taskforce Chair, the Hon Neil Andrew, outlined the key findings from the report in an opinion piece, published in the most recent issue of ACIAR’s ‘Partners’ magazine. This special ‘Australian Benefits’ issue included many examples of how ACIAR’s portfolio of research projects has helped the livelihoods of smallholder farmers overseas, while providing benefits back home. An excerpt from Mr Andrew’s article follows.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

IN THE FIELD - Going bananas in the Philippines

In November, Graduate Officer Bonnie Flohr travelled to Davao City, Mindanao in the Philippines as part of a team scoping future research that will help smallholder banana growers there, as well as banana growers in Australia... 

I travelled with representatives from Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (QDAFF) and from the Australian Banana Growers Council. We were all relieved to arrive at our intended destination despite the terrible destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan further north in the country a few days earlier. We arrived in Davao with a different problem on our minds, namely the destructive fungal disease Fusarium wilt (or Panama disease) that affects bananas. 

Banana packing shed in Mindanao

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Balancing the soil bank

On World Soil Day, 5 December, Dr Gamini Keerthisinghe, manager of ACIAR’s Soil Management and Crop Nutrition research program, shares his view on the importance of soil and how ACIAR’s work is helping farmers improve it.

Soils are like a bank account. You can withdraw what you have, but once the nutrients have been depleted, you need to replace them.

Maintaining a healthy soil balance is fundamental for successful and sustainable farming.  Improving soil pays off by giving farmers generous yield gains, which can help boost their incomes dramatically.

ACIAR's is helping farmers in Southern Philippines improve their soils and their incomes

Monday, 2 December 2013

Terrific tomatoes, perfect peppers - Detective guide for better vegies

Australian and Cambodian farmers and gardeners now have a great new tool for growing healthy tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and eggplants, thanks to a new field guide. The guide is likely to be useful to many smallholder farmers in other countries as well. Co-author Dr Sandra McDougall explains how the guide came about...

Cambodian vegetable growers in western Sydney, Australia are a committed group of growers, producing food for their families and local markets. As with many new migrant market gardeners, they have helped each other set up their farms, are located in a small area, and are mostly growing similar crops: cherry tomatoes, chillies, capsicums and eggplants, as well as snow peas.  

Cherry tomatoes (Photo: S. McDougall)