Pacific Island Project
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is a world leader in the field of agricultural research for development and places a strong emphasis on supporting its partner countries especially in Pacific regions. The University of Queensland is leading an ACIAR funded project through Associate Professor Mike Furlong and his team. This ACIAR Pacific’s Project was developed as a collaborative effort between numerous partner institutions in a range of Pacific island countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and the University of Queensland.
The project was founded to improve livelihoods of smallholders and their communities in the Pacific Islands by addressing the trade imbalance problem faced by Pacific island countries due to their heavy reliance on imports for staple foods, fruits and vegetables. This imbalance has arisen as a result of continued low yields (by international standards) despite attempts to intensify production (with only short-lived gains due to inadequate biocontrol and production methods), as well as increasing synthetic inputs (inappropriate use of pesticides) which have led to serious health and environmental threats.
The projects overriding aim is to conduct research and develop integrated crop management in responding to emerging pest and disease threats in the Pacific islands. The outcome of this project will support sustainable intensification of high-value crop production in the region. A strong emphasis is placed on developing the research capacity of institutions, organisations and individuals within Pacific island countries to support agricultural research and advance development outcomes. Shared knowledge is strongly encouraged through the foundation of supporting programs such as Plant Health Clinics and the app PestNet.
Associate Professor Mike Furlong previously lead another ACIAR funded project (HORT/2010/090) between 2011-2017 in the Pacific region. The primary objective of this investment was strengthening integrated crop management research. It was found to have provided significant research and development investment towards the advancement and introduction of new technologies (particularly biocontrol) that can support the sustainable intensification of high-value crops.