BFH-HAFL students answer the call to shift paradigms in agriculture for a healthy and sustainable future
05.10.2021 Eleven BFH-HAFL students and recent alumni joined this year’s Tropentag 2021, an interdisciplinary conference on research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, natural resource management and rural development.
This year’s event was hosted in a hybrid format bringing together a global audience of over 500 participants. The conference gathered scientists, extension workers, decision-makers and politicians to discuss agricultural research and rural development. The focus of Tropentag 2021 was on changing mindsets and perceptions, making sure that agriculture is aligned with nature, and that there is a positive relationship between humans, environment, and ecology.
In his speech, Dr Mizeck Chagunda, one of the hosts of Tropentag, from the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics at the University of Hohenheim, challenged participants to “be part and parcel of the agricultural dialogues” and join the multidisciplinary approach to addressing global hunger and delivering sustainable solutions.
The BFH-HAFL team of young researchers responded eagerly to this challenge with their poster presentations and discussions during the event, presenting on a wide range of topics. The posters summarised the results of MSc and BSc students’ very well researched theses and projects. For several months leading up to the event the students worked on interesting research questions, conducted field work and literature analyses in order to find valuable solutions and contribute to a paradigm shift for a healthy and sustainable future.
The student presenters had support from BFH-HAFL staff. Dr Lindsey Norgrove was pleased with the outcome and opportunities which Tropentag offered the students, saying: “HAFL students, both from the MSc Life Science programme and from the BSc specialisation in International Agriculture, again participated in this year’s Tropentag and gave another excellent performance demonstrating the broad geographical and thematic scope of their research.
The presentations ranged from the use of innovative mobile phone apps and marketing of a non-timber forest product in Myanmar to tree crops in Ethiopia and Nicaragua, cotton in India and using both cultural and biological control of cereal pests, focused on Africa. There were also case studies on household food security in West Africa, plus a comparative study on the importance of school gardens across four continents. This really highlights the diversity of the projects participated in by the university with our overseas collaborators.”
This year’s event also offered some exciting opportunities beyond the regular poster presentations. Tabea Allen, a current MSc student and HAFL staff member, felt that joining a panel discussion as part of her presentation on Rearing Eiphosoma laphygmae, a Potential Biocontrol Agent of the Fall Armyworm offered an excellent opportunity for her to discuss her research with other scientists working on similar topics and provided her with a good overview of the hot topics people are currently working on.
Another BFH-HAFL MSc graduate commented that the event also provided great networking opportunities, saying that “the Tropentag allowed me to network with other people working in a similar environment, and exchange information which brings me further for my own research.”