Several members of Team Mekong Livestock (Peter, Russell, Sonevilay, Jim and Katherine) travelled to Indonesia between the 9-17th November to attend the 16th Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies (AAAP) Congress and the ACIAR satellite symposium for livestock research. As in Bangkok 2 years ago, the AAAP provided a productive platform for researchers to share a wealth of information on livestock productivity activities throughout Asia. The AAAP website can be viewed at http://aaap2014.ugm.ac.id/ which includes access to the program. Sonevilay, Russell and Jim presented some of our more recent work relating to our projects in South-East Asia. We had good crowds attending our sessions and were encouraged by this as with multiple concurrent sessions, attendees are spoiled for choice on which talks to attend.
ACIAR was a major sponsor of the AAAP this year and used the opportunity to bring together a range of livestock researchers to the event, including travel sponsorship for Sonevilay, Katherine and myself as young researchers. A large number of researchers from partner countries also attended offering a rare opportunity for Australian and Asian counterparts to gather together and share experiences in both formal and informal environments. The satellite symposium included workshopping of the concept of research adoption, plus ‘red-hat’ sessions to provoke alternative views during the foresight sessions aimed at consideration of research priorities in 20 years time. This enabled some humorous role playing as well as in-depth discussions on topics including global and regional food security, climate change, new survey technologies, the role of women in agriculture, pro-poor versus transition out of agriculture polices etc; all of which are expected to be important issues shaping research needs over the next two decades. It was amazing to be able to see first hand the depth of research expertise working in international development.
Many of the founders of the new group ‘Researchers for Agriculture for International Development’ (RAID) were in attendance and this organization provides an important networking and communication platform (see more at: http://www.raidaustralia.net/).
Perhaps the most pertinent issue raised was how to learn from failure of adoption. Adoption rates were discussed however the consensus appeared to be that rates (and measures of success) are not really comparable in different socioeconomic and geopolitical environs, therefore a balanced (or systems) approach is needed where metrics tell part of the story and STEEP (social, technical, economic, environmental and political) aspects are also considered. Our team was able to also discuss our work in change management, and share our findings.
The final part of the trip included a visit to beef extension sites in Lombok. This was a unique opportunity to visit an Indonesian project led by the University of Queensland (Project numbers LPS/2008/038 and LPS/2008/054), where significant development has been achieved in implementing community cattle raising smallholder enterprises.
We wish to thank both ACIAR and the research teams who kindly hosted us during this visit.
Jim Young et al.