Monday, 23 March 2015
Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam plants Acacia implexa (Hickory tree) in Canberra.
Mr Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory hosted an event welcoming His Excellency Mr Nguyen Tan Dung Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Madame Tran Thanh Kiem to the National Arboretum in Canberra. While visiting the Arboretum the Prime Minister and Madame Tran Thanh Kiem took part in the ceremonial planting of an Acacia implexa (Hickory tree), a variety native to the Canberra location. The Acacia was chosen not only for it suitability to the site, but also to highlight the linkages between Canberra and the forestry industry in Vietnam which has been achieved through the support of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and many Australian scientists.
His Excellency Mr Nguyen Tan Dung Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Madame Tran Thanh Kiem planting an Acacia implexa (Hickory tree) at The National Arboretum.
The National Arboretum is principally a collection of small forests (100 in total) with each one representing an important but often threatened tree species from around the world. The Arboretum was establish in the wake of a devastating bushfire in 2003 which destroyed native forest and pine plantations on the outskirts of Canberra along with 500 houses in Canberra. Since its establishment it has become practice for visiting dignitaries to plant commemorative trees during their stay in Canberra.
On this occasion the ceremony was attended by, amongst others, the Vietnamese Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, Nick Austin, CEO of Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Tony Bartlett Manager of ACIAR’s Forestry Research Programs. Two former CSIRO forest scientists, Sadanandan Nambiar and Stephen Midgley, both of whom have worked on ACIAR forestry projects in Vietnam for over 20 years and who in 2012 were awarded medals for the cause of Agriculture and Rural Development, were introduced to the Prime Minister of Vietnam. Their attendance was fitting, not only due to the achievements that have been made in developing Acacia plantation forestry in Vietnam, but also in light of the bonds that exist between Australian and Vietnamese forest scientists as a result of these research collaborations. The variety of Acacia being planted was chosen by Tony Bartlett because it resembles the appearance of the tropical acacias that are grown in Vietnam.
For more than 20 years ACIAR has played an important role in Vietnam, supporting forestry projects, facilitating research partnership and helping to build capacity. Projects funded by ACIAR have involved numerous scientific researchers, universities, forestry research institutes, industry and all levels of government. These projects have delivered substantial impacts, including supporting more than 250,000 smallholder farmers growing acacia trees, and other meaningful outcomes that benefit the forestry sector, Vietnam and Australia. Capacity building is an important goal for ACIAR. This is evident throughout the projects and there outcomes but also through ACIAR’s commitment to scholarships to enable Masters and PhD students excel in their field study. Fifteen scholarships have been awarded to staff from forestry research institutes in recent time.
A large proportion of ACIAR’s forestry work in Vietnam is focused on improving germplasm and silviculture of Australian Acacias and Eucalypts and more recently the processing of veneer products from plantation forests (acacia and eucalyptus). In collaboration with the CSIRO and the Vietnam Academy for Forestry Sciences (VAFS), ACIAR has undertaken important research leading to the introduction of Australian tree species, particularly eucalypts and acacias which has been key to the establishment of plantation resources, diversity of varieties and improved yields. In Vietnam each year over 10 million cubic metres of Acacia logs are harvested to supply the paper industries, furniture manufacturing and fibre board production. The Vietnamese government aims to increase output and expand the existing plantation estate available for sawlog and fibre production.
Vietnamese and Australian scientists are working to improve the genetic quality of the planting stock available to growers, but new varieties are needed with adaptation to a wider range of climatic and site conditions. A number of ACIAR’s forestry projects in Vietnam are designed to underpin the sustainability of, and add value to, the countries acacia and eucalypt plantation estates, and the processing industries based on them.
ACIAR’s commitment to agricultural research and development to overcome poverty and gain sustainability in Vietnam is strong and will be an ongoing focus into the future.
For information about the work ACIAR are doing in Vietnam see www.aciar.gov.au