News: Join the Australian Volunteers Program, Volunteer Horticulturalist (Vegetables) in Lao PDR, November 2018

The Crawford Fund in association with the Australian Volunteers Program are calling for expressions of interest for a Horticulturalist (Vegetables) as part of the Crawford Fund Capacity Building Program in Laos (Lao PDR). The Crawford Fund has been working in partnership with the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry since 2009. This is a unique assignment for a resourceful individual, as it is associated with the Luang Prabang Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (and a Wildlife Sanctuary as described below), and small-holder vegetable farmers.

We’re also seeking expressions of interest for three other positions in Lao PDR for an Agricultural Weed Management Advisor, Entomology and IPM Advisors and Diagnostic Plant Pathologists. 

The Australian Volunteers Program is an Australian Government initiative that supports Australians to contribute to sustainable development across our region. Volunteers are supported with return airfares, visas, living allowances, training and medical insurance. The program has partnered with The Crawford Fund to support its work in Lao PDR.

The volunteer will be assigned to the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) in Luang Prabang city in Luang Prabang province in northern Lao PDR. The Crawford program engages mainly with provincial governments to deliver training in crop management, integrated disease, pest and weed management, biosecurity, food safety and trade. The objective is to increase knowledge and understanding of these areas by local agricultural staff and trainees, and small-holder farmers. Our aim is to help local staff to advise small-holder farmers on management practices through in-field discussions and village workshops. The overall aim is help improve rural livelihoods.

Currently we are seeking a Horticulturalist with experience in vegetable production to support local staff to work with small-holders in five villages to produce a variety of vegetables to sell to the new Luang Prabang Wildlife Sanctuary, around 20 km from the city of Luang Prabang. This Sanctuary is a part of the operations of the long established Australian NGO ‘Free the Bears’. This NGO operates with the support of the Government of Lao PDR. You will be expected to work closely with the staff of the Sanctuary and the small-holders in the five cooperating villages close to the sanctuary. The staff of the sanctuary will provide advice on the preferred vegetables for the bears and other rescued wildlife. An Australian volunteer veterinarian has been recruited to help at the Clinic at the Sanctuary. You will be able to draw on advice on disease and pest problems from current volunteers based in southern Lao and the Crawford e-mentor network in five countries. More detail on our work in the southern Lao region illustrated on Instagram at  https://www.instagram.com/crawfordfundlaos/?hl=en

You will be supported by the Australian Volunteers Program in-country team and Crawford Fund mentors. The Crawford Fund will provide technical and scientific support through in-country visits and online forums. The Crawford Fund also provides some financial support for laboratory/field work and extension activities, as appropriate. Since 2013 a series of Australian volunteers have been based at Champasak and Savannakhet PAFOs working with a wide range of crops.

This is a challenging assignment for an individual wishing to enhance their professional development while contributing to rural development in a LDC. If you are interested in this assignment please send an Expression of Interest (up to one page) and a CV to Hon. Prof Lester Burgess, burgess.international@gmail.com by 1st December, 2018. Phone enquiries to WhatsApp +856 2052503449 until 1st December, and then in Australia, 0417778345.

Minimum Qualification: Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Australia, U/G Degree with a major in Horticultural Science, or equivalent qualification, and experience in vegetable production.