Take a global view of agriculture

INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Charles Sturt PhD student Rachael Wood gets a new view of rice research as part of an international training program in the Philippines.
INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Charles Sturt PhD student Rachael Wood gets a new view of rice research as part of an international training program in the Philippines.

They say it's a small world and I've been reminded of that recently with students from Japan, the United States and Pakistan visiting Charles Sturt University to compete in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition. These students may come from countries with vastly different agricultural systems but they share a passion for the meat industry. It's been great to see these students share knowledge, expand horizons and build connections for the future.

Away from meat science Charles Sturt PhD student Nancy Saji is also preparing to expand her horizon. With support from the NSW Crawford Fund she'll travel to the Philippines to take part in a training program at the International Rice Research Institute. Two of our students, Brooke Kaveney and Rachael Wood took part in the program last year gaining an insight into research to improve rice production in developing countries while learning more about plant breeding techniques used by scientists at IRRI.

While much of the work of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation is focused on improving the sustainability of grain and red meat industries in Australia, we're also involved in projects overseas. One these, an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded project, aims to improve pulse production in Pakistan. Our researchers are sharing their expertise and working with Pakistani farmers to improve the way lentil, chickpea and groundnut crops are grown and to add value to the pulses through better processing technology. Other Graham Centre researchers are working with ACIAR in a project to build the capacity of farmers and advisors to monitor soil salinity in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

This kind of international engagement delivers many benefits. At a basic level we are helping improve the lives of farmers in developing countries. Looking more broadly, improving farming systems delivers economic, social and environmental benefits that contribute to regional peace and security. Many of these countries are also important trading partners for Australia.

The experience of working overseas also benefits our researchers, giving them new perspectives that enhance their work on Australian farms, because we are all part of a global agricultural system.