Students learn importance of improving global agriculture

October 24, 2017

Dr Liselotte Pannier (far left) with some of the Murdoch students in China

Priceless experience: Dr Liselotte Pannier (far left) with some of the Murdoch students in China

Murdoch University students have learnt about the significance of improving the international agricultural industry during an enlightening two-week study tour in China.

Fifteen Animal Health and Animal Science students returned from an international learning experience with a greater understanding of the varying agriculture farming systems and cultures between Australia and China.

For Ellie Bigwood, a student from a sheep farm 350km south of Perth, it was a priceless experience to discover the world outside of Australia and be educated about agriculture and life in China.

“The trip was enlightening and I now have a greater appreciation and understanding for different farming methods and different cultural practices in China,” she said.

“It’s important to recognise that countries do things differently and that we can learn from one another to ensure continual improvement as a global industry.”

After attending seminars at well-recognised Chinese agricultural universities and observing different animal management and enterprises in China, the students learnt the importance of research and accepting different farming methods and technologies in order to advance the international agricultural industry.

“Developing new technologies and ideas to improve productivity of farming businesses is a priority,” added Ellie.

“At a sheep breeding facility we went to in Tianjin (Tianjin Aoqun Animal Husbandry Pty. Ltd), it was placed into perspective the importance of improving the productivity of farms to meet the global demand for food, which is continually growing.”

The students gained insight into Australia’s relationship with China during a visit to the Australian Embassy in Beijing. Here they focused on the importance of developing good relations with China officials to make China a reliable and stable market for Australian products.

Program coordinator Dr Liselotte Pannier, from Murdoch’s School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, accompanied the students on the tour. She said the opportunity for international collaboration and establishing international relationships greatly enhanced the students’ learning.

“Visiting and experiencing real live enterprises and communicating with professionals, gives our students the opportunity to relate their learning back to the real world,” Dr Pannier said. “This experience will also allow our students to take advantage of the contacts and networks to make them more employable and build on their future careers.”

Among the agricultural learning, the students also discovered the Chinese were excellent karaoke singers and that Chinese cuisine, like chicken feet, actually tasted fabulous. However, the highlight was visiting the Great Wall on a very bright clear sunny day.

“The Great Wall was a life experience like no other!” Ellie said.

The School of Veterinary and Life Sciences received funding through the Australian Government’s, New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility program and the Western Australian Government’s Science and Agribusiness Connect Tertiary Program for this international learning experience.

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