Australian scientists helping to boost agriculture in Indochina
March 6, 2013 10:44 am
By Neville D’Cruz
MELBOURNE, March 6 — University of Sydney academics are working with partners from Cambodia, Viet Nam and Laos to improve the way agriculture is taught at universities in Indochina.
Professors Bill Rathmell and Peter Sharp from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment are leading an AusAID (PSLP) programme that involves six universities from South East Asia.
The group recently came together for the first time at an international workshop at Mean Chey University in Cambodia.
The Rector of Mean Chey University, Nga Sam, said: "The number of well qualified or overseas-trained graduates in Cambodia is very limited, and much of the teaching is done by people who have only recently graduated. Because of the general lack of resources, our ability to do practical curriculum and extension education is also limited."
Professor Rathmell said the aim of the project was to develop sustainable curriculums, customised to the needs of each country.
"This will help to build networks within Indochina, as well as developing linkages across South East Asia and Australia," said Professor Rathmell.
Other participants in the project are Svay Rieng University and Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear in Cambodia; Hanoi University of Agriculture and the Institute of Agricultural Genetics in Vietnam; and the National University of Laos.
The workshop included a visit to an upland sunflower field site in Samlout led by Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation facilitator, Dr Bob Martin; training by experts from Vietnam and Sam Malfroy from Plant Health Australia on beekeeping technology and mushroom production; a visit to a hybrid maize experimental field site facilitated by Dr Daniel Tan; and curriculum development led by Sydney Southeast Asia Centre Country Coordinator for Laos, Dr Damien Field.(PNA/Bernama)