Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ponds for prosperity in Papua New Guinea

There’s more to constructing a pond than just digging a hole and filling it with water—just ask Francis Gako, who has been helping out with an ACIAR project in Papua New Guinea (PNG) aiming to improve smallholders’ fish production for food security and income generation. 

bagful of fish
Tilapia farming in PNG can improve food security and generate income
(Photo: F. Gako)
There are more than 10,000 small-scale fish farms in PNG, and interest in aquaculture is growing fast. The PNG government has recognised the important role of fish in food security, particularly in inland areas. However, despite the peoples’ interest in aquaculture, current production levels are low when compared with other South-East Asian systems.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Information for Development

Recognising World Development Information Day (24 October), Joanna Hicks, ACIAR's Knowledge Manager, explains that ICT and KM are more than just acronyms. 

Information and knowledge are crucial to ACIAR and play a large role in the success of our projects. We are fortunate to have highly-respected experts from across many scientific disciplines and dedicated in-country and local support teams. The knowledge and experience gained over 30 years of funding and managing agricultural research projects and programs, across many countries, allows us to produce consistently positive outcomes and measurable impact. 
Young farmers in Pakistan trialling ACIAR's 'Seeing is Believing' app.
Photo courtesy of Rob Fitzgerald, University of Canberra

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A vibrant Papua New Guinea – bold thinking can make it possible

Last year ACIAR’s Partners Magazine ran a special edition on Papua New Guinea (PNG) and our program of research helping smallholder farmers to overcome poverty. An underlying theme was that of optimism, from the scientists and farmers, that agriculture could help create a brighter future for many.

Last week the ANZ Bank released its latest ANZ insight series report, Bold Thinking: Imagining PNG in the Asia Century. The report examines key opportunities for PNG in mining and agriculture to “drive forward a vision of a vibrant, dynamic PNG”.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Remembering General Vo Nguyen Giap

This story is extracted from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam's facebook post acknowledging General Vo Nguyen Giap's contribution to the Vietnamese people. General Vo Nguyen Giap was a strong supporter of Australia-Vietnam cooperation in agriculture. He passed away earlier this month at age 102. Here is the original post.
General Giap with former ACIAR Director, Dr Rothschild

Friday, 18 October 2013

IN THE FIELD - Bouncing back with rubber plantations in Indonesia

On a recent trip to Indonesia, ACIAR’s Forestry Research Program manager Tony Bartlett saw how smallholder farmers are benefiting from working with a large forestry company on their community-owned land...
Sijambu village and project staff meeting with community leaders
ACIAR forestry research led by the University of Tasmania is investigating ways to increase productivity and profitability of smallholder plantations in Indonesia, particularly in South Sumatra, Riau and West Kalimantan. Large-scale commercial plantations of Eucalyptus pellita and Acacia mangium are being grown here for use as pulpwood. Under government policy, future expansion of plantations will largely be on land allocated to communities. As such, it is important that we understand how community members can best benefit from commercial forestry on their land.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Women working wonders in Vietnam

Mrs Nguyen Thi Oanh and Mrs Bui Thi Hob
who grow indigenous vegetables in NW Vietnam
(Photo: Vu Thi Hai Hau)
Celebrating International Day of Rural Women, 15 October, Mandy Gyles brings us the story of women growing and marketing indigenous vegetables in Vietnam.

“Since joining the co-operative and learning new production skills our crop has been increasing and our income has grown three fold,” said Mrs Nguyen Thi Oanh (pictured left), a Vietnamese farmer who is now harvesting and selling 100-220 bunches of indigenous vegetables daily.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pistachio and pulse production - Improving use of water catchments in Afghanistan

A 4-year project to help restore water catchments, improve catchment management, and in turn enhance rural livelihoods in Afghanistan is underway. The Australian Government and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) have partnered together on this project with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
The Mazar catchment site is being rehabilitated in this
community-based project (Photo: J. Rizvi)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Zeroing in on no-till farming in Iraq

Conservation agriculture can bring significant returns to farmers, particularly in dry regions. The principles were first introduced to Australian farming back in the 1960’s, and we have been reaping the benefits ever since. An Australian Government-funded project is aiming to bring similar benefits to smallholder farmers in the drylands of northern Iraq, through testing and promoting conservation cropping technologies.

Research is helping farmers cope
with dry and dusty soils in Iraq (Photo: S. Loss)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A touching insight into life in Fiji

Two video clips about the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI) and the people it benefits have just been produced. This blog is from Communication Officer Julie Lloyd on her travels to Fiji for the filming...

How does a person feel when, for the first time, they step into a part of the South Pacific and experience firsthand, a unique environment that is rarely exposed? As Communication Officer for the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI) who recently visited some of the more remote and traditional farming areas of Fiji, I can say it is an eye-opening yet rewarding experience. From the minute I arrived in Nadi on a hot Sunday afternoon in August, until I departed six days later, my head and heart were bursting at the seams absorbing a country and a culture of people who do it tough but at the same time reflect a sense of pride and generosity.

Fijian boy with breadfruit
Fijian boy with breadfruit at Sigatoka market (photo: J. Lloyd)