Published: 17 Jan 2020
Do you dream of making a difference in the world?
Do you want to help feed a growing population or reduce malnutrition for millions of children around the globe?
Agricultural science students are tackling these big issues, before they even graduate.
Two Agricultural Science students from the University of Tasmania have been applying their knowledge and skills to help address some big global problems as part of an international agricultural research trip to Timor-Leste.
Oliver Gales and Anna Mackintosh were among 22 successful students from around Australia to experience international agricultural research and development first hand, thanks to the Crawford Fund.
Ollie and Anna were exposed to the malnutrition epidemic in Timor-Leste by working on projects to improve maternal and child nutrition and provide fresh produce to the commercial market.
Anna spent 10 days in Timor-Leste, Dili and the municipality of Viqueque and said it was an eye-opening experience.
Farmers in the town of Viqueque reported that the recent outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Timor-Leste is having a major impact on productivity. The occurrence of Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) in farm bird species is another ongoing challenge.
“I spoke directly with farmers to understand the productivity of their farms and the major challenges they face,” Anna said.
"This opportunity highlighted how important it is to have good communication and reliable contacts when working overseas in the field.
"I thoroughly enjoyed learning about how important livestock is to Timorese people in terms of both their nutrition and cultural practices.
"Working closely with farmers highlighted the importance of agriculture to developing countries. Furthermore, it demonstrated how vital international support is for the productivity of farms in Timor-Leste".
Oliver spent 6 days in Balibo and said he relished the opportunity to undertake the trip while still studying his undergraduate degree.
“Learning the potential that agriculture offers to improving the standard of living in developing countries whilst still studying an undergraduate degree is really fantastic, and a true testament to the Crawford Fund,” OIiver said.
“It has been an amazing chance to learn and experience the importance of agriculture to developing countries.
“Timor-Leste is one of Australia’s closest neighbours, and to experience the differences and similarities in agricultural systems contributes unequivocal opportunities and experiences to the education of agriculture to students.”
“I wanted to study agricultural science because of the possible tangible outputs graduates have, working on this project allowed me to experience that first hand.”
The Crawford Fund’s student awards allow students to visit to a developing country project of relevance to their studies and gain valuable international agricultural research experience and expertise.
The University of Tasmania has one of the highest ranked agricultural programs in the world. It offers numerous scholarships and access to hundreds of successful producers in Tasmania and beyond.