International agricultural leaders in NT knowledge exchange

Mila Bristow

 John Dillon Fellows meet with Alister Trier (DPIR CE) and Greg Owens and Simon Smith from NT Farmers

John Dillon Fellows meet with Alister Trier (DPIR CE) and Greg Owens and Simon Smith from NT Farmers

Leaders in agricultural research from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond recently paid a visit to key research facilities in the Top End. The visitors from Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Uganda visited Darwin as part of their John Dillon Memorial Fellowships.

These highly competitive fellowships are run by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and aim to develop leadership skills in agricultural, aquaculture and fisheries research management. As well as showcasing the Northern Territory’s (NT’s) primary industry research, the visit allowed for an exchange of knowledge and ideas between growers and research institutions.

Building these networks with international researchers can be extremely useful to the department as they provide insights into pest and disease threats in our neighbouring countries and enhance our exotic pest lists and biosecurity strategies. They can form the basis of joint international projects allowing us to access funding and research talent beyond our current funding scope.

The visits included a field trip to Berrimah Farm, Coastal Plains Research Farm (CPRF), Darwin Aquaculture Centre, and Beatrice Hill Farm. At Berrimah Farm the visitors toured the plant health diagnostics, insect and pathogen collections, and met with scientists and teams working in applied horticulture and agricultural research and development (R&D). They next visited the Darwin Aquaculture Centre to learn about the department’s  R&D programs in aquaculture including oysters, giant clams and sea cucumbers.

Coastal Plains Research Farm showcased its R&D on bananas, tropical fruits, nutrition of mangos and a fabulous discussion about tropical livestock research with Barry Lemke and Grant Hamilton at both CPRF and Beatrice Hill Farm.

We rounded out the visit with refreshments at Berrimah Farm’s Bark Hut where they met with industry representatives and talked long into the afternoon about links with agricultural science leaders throughout the region into the future. A worthwhile couple of days for all involved.

Last updated: 03 April 2017