Crawford Fund Fellowship: Lal Prasad Amgain 2004

Mr Lal Prasad Amgain, from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Tribhuvan University, Chitwan, Nepal was awarded the 2004 ATSE Crawford Fund Fellowship.

Lal Prasad AmgainMr Amgain spent three months at CSIRO Land and Water, Griffith, NSW from September to December, 2004. This provided him with new knowledge and skills on crop modeling and raised bed agriculture that could lead to benefits to Nepal through his research and teaching roles. The traineeship provided the opportunity to initiate a longer-term collaborative relationship with the CSIRO.

Use of crop models is an excellent way to encourage thinking and learning about processes in the plant/soil/atmosphere system, and to investigate the impact of management, climate and site conditions on crop performance and water use requirement. It is expected that permanent raised beds could benefit rice-wheat systems of Nepal through improved soil structure and drainage, more timely sowing of crops because the beds are already in place, increased water and nutrient use efficiencies, increased crop diversity and greater flexibility to capture market opportunities.

Mr Amgain joined the cropping systems team of Dr Liz Humphreys, Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Land and Water in Griffith. He also worked closely with Dr Jagadish Timsina and other CSIRO staff involved in the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) project “Permanent beds for irrigated rice-wheat and alternative cropping systems in north west India and south east Australia”

The ACIAR project is particularly relevant to issues facing Nepal, where rice and wheat are also the most important food crops, accounting for 63% of total calorie intake. Increasing the productivity of these crops is the highest priority of the Planning Commission of Nepal for food supply to keep up with population growth. Rice-wheat is a major cropping system, especially in the flat Terai region where Mr Amgain is located.

Mr Amgain has been working with the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Tribhuvan University, Nepal as an Assistant Professor for the past five years, and prior to that with the Nepalese Ministry of Agriculture. He has been involved in a range of teaching, research and extension activities.

Mr Amgain attended the 4th International Crop Science Congress being held in Brisbane from 26 September to 1 October where he had the opportunity to network with the world’s leading crop scientists, before proceeding to take up his Fellowship at CSIRO Land and Water.