SE-Asia and South Pacific Research

BRINGING TOGETHER TRADITIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE FOR IMPROVED AND MORE SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS

Panorama Na Bai, VietnamNa Bai Village, Vietnam. Photo credit Tran Lam Dong

Overview of Projects – making a difference

Significant challenges face South-East Asia and Pacific island countries in improving livelihood choices, overcoming poverty and reducing environmental impacts. In northwest Vietnam, where our South East Asian research is currently focused, rural poverty, deforestation and land degradation present interconnected development challenges.

In the South Pacific our work focuses on Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands where most rural people are semi-subsistence smallholder farmers who earn their livelihoods from agriculture, fishing and forestry. The region faces challenges on several levels, from climate change to the market forces (e.g. distance to and/or undersupply of markets, fluctuating economy), as well as persisting after-effects from historical events, such as the global financial crisis and several natural disasters such as tropical cyclones.

Our research looks at innovative opportunities to develop forestry, agroforestry, beekeeping and beef cattle farming while also considering environmental benefits, including enhanced forest and landscape management. In northwest Vietnam our research is looking at ways to improve farmer livelihoods through encouraging agroforestry and by rehabilitating natural forests. In the South-Pacific our research aims to increase the productivity, value adding and marketing options of smallholder farmers that will increase rural household incomes and livelihoods choices, as well as meeting undersupplied existing and emerging markets.

Beneficiaries of our Projects

While smallholder farmers are seen as the prime beneficiary of our projects there are other key stakeholders who benefit in varying degrees from the range and scope of our projects in South-East Asia and the South Pacific. These include:

  • Local communities through the strengthening of their local economies, diversification of incomes, provision of effective and appropriate best practice information
  • Women in agriculture, through their engagement in agricultural research and training
  • Agricultural and community development practitioners and consultants
  • Aid organisations engaged in forestry, agroforestry and beef cattle farming programs
  • Federal government relations between Australia and South Pacific partner countries
  • Small to medium business enterprises where value adding of products improves business and employment opportunities
  • Southern Cross University students and staff and collaborators from other Universities, South Pacific government departments, NGOs and the private sector forging strong partnerships and information sharing