Monday, 29 June 2015

The ups and downs of field work

By Shumaila Arif
This blog first appeared on the RAID website.

Last year I started my PhD at Charles Sturt University. Prior to this I worked for 3 years with the ASLP Dairy Project (an ACIAR funded project in Pakistan). Due to my work experience with smallholder dairy farmers in my home country I was passionate to do something for them. Therefore, I decided to apply for a PhD scholarship to work on a disease (brucellosis) that is highly zoonotic and something that farmers are generally unaware of. I was lucky enough to receive a John Allwright Fellowship (care of ACIAR) which has given me the opportunity to come to Australia where, with the help of my supervisory team (Jane Heller, Marta Hernandez-Jover, David McGill & Peter Thomson), we have started an epidemiology project. The main aim of the project is to looking for risky farm and household practices that could possibly be linked to the transmission of brucellosis and associate this with the prevalence of the disease. We hope this information will be useful to predict risk of the disease and help direct education programmes.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Launch of ‘Maria’s Family’ books in East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Friday 29 May 2015 saw the highly successful launch of ACIAR’s ‘Maria’s family’ books at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in Kerevat. Kiteni Kurika, Elizabeth Ling, the local women’s cooperative members and local schools were invited to the launch and to receive their own copy of Maria’s family goes to market book.

Maria's family book

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

What the Chameleon Said

This morning I went to my field of bean and maize
I was worried because it had not rained for days
I asked The Chameleon ‘Madam, what do you think?
Do my plants at this time need a drink?’
The Chameleon changed colour, she turned red
And then she looked at me and quickly said
‘Your plants today are thirsty my friend
If you don’t give water urgently that might be their end’
So I flooded my field, I let the water flow and flow
After a long time I thought to myself, ‘Bravo!
Now every part of my field is completely wet
From top to bottom, no need to fret’
But now The Chameleon, She turned blue
She said, ‘Oh my friend what did you do?!
Now you are wasting water, washing away plant food
More water will not do you any good’
So I stopped watering, quickly turned off the taps
I sat concerned, my face tucked in between my laps
But later that day The Chameleon turned green
‘Now your maize should be fine’, she said, ‘and your bean’

ACIAR would like to congratulate Dr Ikenna Mbakwe for his prize-winning poem (above) on the Chameleon soil monitor. Dr Mbakwe submitted the poem as part of the South African National Research Foundation’s Young Science Communicators Competition 2015 and won the Open Category.

The pre-commercial Chameleon reader. Source: ACIAR

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

PNG welcomes the ACIAR Commission

From 11 to 15 May, the Commission for International Agricultural Research (the Commission) travelled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for their 31st meeting. While there, they also met with local stakeholders and visited project sites in Port Moresby, Goroka and Lae. I had the opportunity to travel with them to Goroka and Lae and show them my beautiful country.

The Commission for International Agricultural Research in PNG. Source: John Cook