Ag stu­dents grow in trip to for­eign fields

Gatton Star - - LIFE / INTO RURAL -

UNIVER­SITY of Queens­land agri­cul­tural science stu­dents broad­ened their knowl­edge of In­done­sia agri­cul­tural prac­tices and sys­tems through a two-week study visit.

Eigh­teen Bach­e­lor of Agri­cul­tural Science stu­dents study­ing at UQ’S School of Agri­cul­ture and Food Sciences took part in the agri­cul­tural study pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Gad­jah Mada in the city of Yo­gyakarta.

Course co-or­di­na­tor Dr Karen Harper said the pro­gram in­tro­duced fu­ture agri­cul­tural sci­en­tists to farm­ing sys­tems in South-east Asia, en­cour­ag­ing them to de­velop a global per­spec­tive.

“Stu­dents at­tended lec­tures, went on field ex­cur­sions ex­pos­ing them to an ar­ray of agri­cul­tural sys­tems, par­tic­i­pated in re­search projects, and ex­pe­ri­enced spec­tac­u­lar ge­o­log­i­cal and cul­tural lo­ca­tions,” Dr Harper said.

“It’s an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents, as Aus­tralian agri­cul­tural sci­en­tists are of­ten em­ployed in Asia to im­prove food se­cu­rity in highly pop­u­lous re­gions.

“These re­gions have high po­ten­tial for im­proved pro­duc­tion and, as fu­ture sci­en­tists, our stu­dents may one day have the chance to pro­vide ex­per­tise on pro­duc­ing food ef­fi­ciently and at great scale.”

Stu­dent Peta Stock­well said the trip had changed her at­ti­tude to agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to farm­ing fam­i­lies.

“I was im­pressed by the num­ber of pro­duc­tive, ef­fi­cient farm­ers we saw, and re­alised that, just like Aus­tralia, there’s a large gap be­tween the best and worst pro­duc­ers,” she said.

“For me, this trip demon­strated the po­ten­tial for re­search to make a big dif­fer­ence in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity and the qual­ity of life for many peo­ple.

“Some of the small changes I’m hop­ing to make could po­ten­tially lead to enor­mous im­prove­ments.”

PHOTO: DAVID INNES

FIRST-HAND: Univer­sity of Queens­land agri­cul­tural science stu­dents in the field in Kopeng, Cen­tral Java.

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