The AI-Com team was this week delighted to welcome Professor Andrew Campbell, the chief executive officer of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, or ACIAR, to Dili.
The visit was Professor Campbell’s first to Timor-Leste as CEO of ACIAR, and was long-hoped for – ACIAR has supported agriculture research projects in Timor-Leste since 2000, and Professor Campbell supervised the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ (MAF) Odete Guterres during her PhD at Charles Darwin University.
Professor Campbell joined ACIAR after five years as the inaugural director of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. He had wanted to visit Timor-Leste for some time, but plans had been marred by elections and governmental changes.
AI-Com’s technical director, Rob Williams, said the visit was productive.
“ACIAR is a long-term partner in Timor-Leste, assisting with agriculture research and training,” he said. “Professor Campbell was able to meet partners and discuss how to continue bringing innovation to Timorese farmers.”
During his talks with staff in Dili, Professor Campbell discussed the future development of a 10-year-long research strategy between Timor-Leste and ACIAR. The strategy would consider various technical themes, bisected by cross-cutting issues, including climate, soils, gender, and digital agriculture, and would prioritise in-country short courses for staff over longer-term research projects.
Technical priorities for research include crop production, animal production, industrial crops, fisheries, and forests.
Work on developing this strategy could begin in December this year, and take approximately 12 months. Long-term strategic planning for research in Timor-Leste will deepen the research capacity of the agricultural sector and offer myriad long-term benefits for future research and discoveries – using research and innovation to improve livelihoods for Timorese families.