Feature image: Malcolm and his information station
Malcolm Gaydon, a teacher from Queensland, experienced in agriculture and livestock care has been working with our partners in Atabae, Timor Leste to curb the disease and death in local livestock in a sustainable manner. Below he shares a brief update.
Currently I’m waiting for funding to enable a start to the piggery project that I have been putting together the last few months, having established a location for the build at the local agricultural school with the consent of lecturer Dr Luis Tavares from the Dili University. Dr Tavares also owns the property on which the agricultural school resides. I have organised for local builders to provide quotations and together we have spent many days going to local hardware stores seeking building products needed for the pig enclosure. The local builders are very keen for the work.
The purpose of the enclosure is to be a working example of utilising bio security measures where local farmers and students can learn how to better protect their pigs from diseases like African swine flu which is the likely cause of pig deaths locally. Many hours of research has been spent becoming familiar with the way in which this enclosure has to be built and why. The funding will allow the current crop of agricultural students to be taught about looking after pigs.
Many hours have also been spent putting together applications for funding from many rotary organisations and charity groups that support Timor Leste and organisations in Dili itself. Perth rotary informed me that they are discussing the proposal in May. Fingers crossed we hear some positive news soon.
Sharing local solutions
I have spent time as well researching local herbs and plants to encourage locally sustainable methods of protecting chickens, goats and dogs from various diseases and parasites. Two timber workstations and information stands have been established at the two main administration centres here in Atabae so farmers can access these details. My interpreter friend Anos, who has been worth his weight in gold, translated the information into Tetum and helped me identify and name the local plants that are mentioned.
Acquiring some ivermectin, a common general worm medicine used for most animals, has enabled some worming lessons. I am currently putting together more information on where to get this medicine, dosing amounts for the different animals and how to administer.
It sounds like I’ve been kept fairly busy. However, there are local holidays and drenching rain when it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the local coffee and the much slower pace of life around here.