Friday, 24 June 2016

Intervention study has improved chicken rearing and on-farm biosecurity in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar

As part of an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Centre (ACIAR),
University of Queensland (UQ) animal health project in the Central Dry Zone (CDZ) of Myanmar, a year-long intervention study has improved chicken rearing and on-farm biosecurity.

The study, which was completed in November 2015, included vaccinations against Newcastle disease administered in three-monthly intervals. Interviews with village chicken farmers were conducted in December 2015 to explore changes in their perceptions, beliefs and practices towards Newcastle disease and its prevention and to follow-up on the outcomes of the intervention study. (A similar survey was conducted before the commencement of the intervention study.)

Friday, 17 June 2016

Land degradation and desertification important focal points for ACIAR research

Today is World Day to Combat Desertification, a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.

Desertification is the process of making or becoming a desert – a dry barren often sand-covered area of land, characteristically desolate, waterless and without vegetation. Desertification can also refer to the spread of existing deserts where large areas of once fertile and productive land are degraded to the point of ceasing farming. Increasing human pressures on the land can lead to desertification through such activities as over-cultivation, overgrazing, deforestation, and poor water management.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Land use evaluation in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar

The Central Dry Zone (CDZ) of Myanmar is an area characterised by a short monsoon rainfall season followed by eight months of dry and low productivity soils, mostly hilly to gently undulating terrain with sandy soils and only a few areas of more productive clays in the valleys. The soils lack organic matter, are infertile and are generally acidic. This combined with low rainfall means that farming in the area is relatively unproductive and risky.

ACIAR has just started a new project on land use evaluation in the CDZ. It will start with a pilot area called Pyawbwe township, about a two hour drive north of Nay Pi Taw, the capital of Myanmar. The aim of the project is to better understand the variation and hence the constraints and opportunities of different soils and map these in detail. Then the project will develop land use planning guidelines with land management authorities and farmers and share those with government agencies and NGOs operating in the region.

Project team discussing soils with farmers. Photo: Dr Evan Christen, ACIAR

Friday, 3 June 2016

A new generation of products from forest plantations and agri-fibre residue

Researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) are engaged in ACIAR forestry projects in Laos and Vietnam both of which are helping partner scientists and local wood processing industries to improve wood manufacturing processes and consider the development of innovative wood products. In doing so they build local scientific capacity and generate new markets for smallholders to sell their wood and other fibre products.

From left to right: Phouluang Chounlamounty (NUOL), Tien Manh Ha (VAFS), Rod Vella (DAF) and Hoan Nguyen Hai (Griffith University) present the first panel made from sorghum in Australia