Home' Partners : Partners: Australian research leaders Contents PARTNERS ISSUE THREE 2015
CASE STUDY: A PASSION FOR RESEARCH,
AGUSTINA ASRI RAHMIANNA
Dr Agustina Asri Rahmianna's passion for research was noticed almost straight away by Australian scientists
seconded to an ACIAR groundnut (peanut) project in Indonesia in the early 1990s.
Then an agronomy graduate from Gadjah Mada University, Dr Rahmianna (or Anna as she is known among
the farmers she works with in Indonesia) was encouraged by Queensland peanut researchers Dr Graeme Wright
and Dr Mike Bell to apply for a John Allwright Fellowship to undertake a PhD in Australia, which she duly did and
completed in 1998.
Dr Rahmianna's work since then is a clear demonstration of the capacity building value of ACIAR scholarships
such as the John Allwright and John Dillon Fellowships.
Dr Rahmianna is a leading researcher with the Indonesian Legume and Tuber Crops Research Institute, focusing
on lifting groundnut production through improved agronomy and water use e ciency. Peanuts are grown in
rotation with rice and give farmers an extra crop that can use the soil moisture remaining in paddies.
Her work also involves educating farmers on the correct use of fungicides to control a atoxin. The long-term
objective is to lift production, plus raise overall quality to an export standard. This would go a long way to lifting
smallholder communities from traditional subsistence farming to having a more productive and sustainable
While it was painful to leave behind a young family during her PhD at the University of Queensland,
Dr Rahmianna says the experience was life-changing: "Everything about
research still excites me," she says. "Research gives you a freedom for thinking
But she adds that change cannot be achieved by research alone: "It
needs extension support and the participation of industry; in the case of
our groundnuts, the buyers and processors [are needed] to ensure the new
knowledge is maintained after the researchers have gone."
Farmers gather around researcher Dr Agustina Asri Rahmianna to ask
advice on crop samples they have brought with them.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is
a member of the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium and works
with partners worldwide to enhance livestock pathways
out of poverty, principally in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
PHOTO: BRAD COLLIS
Professor Lindsay Falvey FTSE
Professor Lindsay Falvey FTSE has been dean of
Land and Food Resources and chair of Agriculture
at the University of Melbourne, adviser to all major
agricultural development agencies and several
governments, and CEO of international consulting
companies. He has published 20 books, including
the biography of Professor Derek Tribe, and more
than 150 papers on subjects related to agriculture
and human values. He is a director of major
agricultural investor Hassad Australia, and assumes
the chair of the International Livestock Research
Institute in November.
from stress to pasture---is something agricultural
science should be interested in."
Looking back on his career, he says that the
education he received during Australia's "golden age"
of agricultural science (in the late 1960s) was pivotal.
He describes his training as the "best in the world",
encompassing a full science curriculum, in addition
to economics and even a smattering of sociology.
It is the same integration of that mix of
disciplines that is fundamental to the best
research-for-development projects, including
much of ACIAR's contemporary work.
His confidence and determination to make
a difference is in part attributable to a religious
background and to his association with Australians
who made important marks on the world. In
particular there is the man that Professor Falvey
honoured with a biography---Professor Derek
Tribe FTSE OBE---who was instrumental in
establishing the organisations that became ILRI
and the Crawford Fund.
"Doing research for development is not just
about the science," Professor Falvey says. "Like any
other pursuit, you need good governance, secure
finances and the right management. These are
critical to research and to ensure young scientists are
drawn to pursue research careers into the future." n
Research gives you a
freedom for thinking
-- Dr Agustina Asri Rahmianna
Links Archive Partners: Building resilience in the Pacific Islands Partners: Development partnerships with Indonesia Navigation Previous Page Next Page