I have not written anything in here since the Pleistocene period. Forgive me, blog.

Okay, back to my title. Just this afternoon, I’ve stumbled upon an online article published last November about my recent trip to the Land Down Under, and seeing my photo and name there was just too much of a kilig moment for a fledgling like me 😀

Yes, I went to visit the playground of kangaroos and koalas late last year. Yes, I did sightseeing and had a mandatory shot at the Opera House. Yes, I ate delicious stuff Australians typically eat and drink, and forgot how I was trying to maintain my then freshly-slimmed self.

Who goes on a diet when you have two weeks to gorge on mouth-watering beef steaks, lamb chops, pork ribs, beer and all those goodness? Definitely not me 😛

And the best thing about it? I HAD THEM FOR FREE! 😀 Hurrah! (I’ll be writing more about this in another post, I guess/hope…)

BUT, I actually went there for work. How lucky is it for a wannabe viajera like me to reach another continent for free? Hah! The answer there is agriculture 😀

the land
Smile! What you see there in the background are controlled environment chambers for eucalyptus.

I am affiliated with my country’s national university as a researcher, specifically an agricultural researcher working on rice physiology and breeding. For some baffling reason (I would just like to say a very unexpected grace from God), I got qualified to join a study tour sponsored by multi-national company Syngenta called the Syngenta Connections Program, which brings Australian students to different countries to learn more about their  agricultural conditions, and also brings non-Australian agriculture-related people (like me) to Australia for exposure to its modern agricultural ways and networking among agricultural stakeholders. You can learn more about the SynConn program here and here.

Our stay in Australia lasted two weeks, and covered prominent universities in New South Wales and Queensland that have remarkable track record in terms of agricultural research and curriculum. We also visited inspiring commercial enterprises and non-profit organizations that promote sustainable agriculture and precision farming.

UQ Gatton.jpg
The UPLB  delegates together with Syngenta coordinator, Aussie students and UQ expert.

After imbibing the feel of the modern research facilities, seeing techie precision farming apps, and discussing with various Ag experts, it was a very productive trip indeed. And the final takeaway (aside from the photos, pasalubong and additional weight around the midsection), was the challenge on how to make agriculture smarter, more sustainable and profitable, and highly enticing to the new generation.

Challenge accepted.