INTERNATIONAL researchers on the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research John Dillon Fellowship have visited the DAF’s Mareeba research facility to learn more about the industry’s strategic development in agronomy and soil science.
The researchers are drawn from several developing countries and are visiting Australia as part of the federal government’s regional aid program, which provides them with local industry exposure as well as institutional placement.
This is the second instalment of the month-long program hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s International Development unit.
The researchers had previously toured Mossman Gorge and James Cook University before stopping by the research facility in Mareeba to learn more about developments in agricultural research.
Paula Ibell, a horticulturist with The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, highlighted a project her team is working on which examines growth factors to help local growers increase crop yield.
“We’re currently working on the Small Tree High Productivity project, which looks at combining vigour control, light interception and architecture research to help produce higher mango, avocado and macadamia yield”, she said.
“This is a flagship research project for Australia. As a result, it stands as an example for other researchers trying to improve productivity and management of tropical fruit trees.
“It also offers potential for cyclone resilience and recovery for tropical fruit trees as a management recovery system.”
Visiting research scientist Dr Cesar Limbaga jun, an Associate Professor in horticulture from the University of South-Eastern Philippines, shared his observations on the department’s project based off his research with ACIAR.
“It is interesting to observe the contrast in the planting methods used for mango trees in the Philippines and the innovative method here in Australia,”, Dr Limbaga said.
“The system they use here by having a higher density of trees planted per square hectare can really help with the increase in production system and at the same time reduce the need for cultural management practices by the farmers.”
The researchers will also visit Skybury Coffee near Mareeba before returning to Brisbane.