Saturday, September 20, 2014

Renowned Australian soil scientist visits Visayas State University

Prof. Neal Menzies, professor of soil and environmental science and head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the prestigious University of Queensland, Australia, visited the Visayas State University (VSU), Leyte, Philippines from September 16-19, 2014. 

The purpose of his visit was to attend, as a collaborating scientist, the meeting of the ACIAR (Australian Center for International Agricultural Research) - funded Soils Project (Soil and Nutrient Management Strategies for Sustainable Vegetable Production in Southern Philippines- SMCN/2012/029) attended by scientists from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Dr. Stephen Harper and Ms. Zara Hall) and partners from the Visayas State University, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Bureau of Soil and Water Management, Landcare Foundation Philippines Incorporated, Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology (MOSCAT) and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF). 

Prof. Neal Menzies & Dr. Stephen Harper (project leader) pose with ACIAR project partners at the VSU beach

He also visited the proposed project site in the central highlands of Leyte (740m above sea level) and was able to observe firsthand the soil problems and fertilization practices of the vegetable farmers in the area (among the most important soil problems is related to the very high phosphorus fixing capacity of the young volcanic soils (Andisols) which developed from andesitic Quaternary volcanics). He also visited the different academic and research units of VSU particularly the Department of Agronomy and Soil Science which prides itself as one of the leading soil science departments in the Philippines today.

Prof. Menzies with VSU soil scientists 

Prof. Menzies was elected as Vice-President of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), the global organization of 55,000 soil scientists, from 2006 to 2010. He has also served as Secretary, Vice-President and President of the Queensland Branch of the Australian Society of Soil Science Inc. (ASSSI). He has published more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals many of which have received high citations in international publications.

Prof. Menzies with vegetable farmers & project partners in Cabintan, Ormoc, Leyte
ACIAR Soils Project (SMCN/2012/029): 2014-17

Project Leader: Dr. Stephen Harper, Principal Research Scientist
Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (QDAFF)
Collaborating Scientist: Prof. Neal Menzies, Professor of Soil and Environmental Sciences
University of Queensland, Australia
Project Coordinator (Philippines): Dr. Victor B. Asio, Professor of Soil Science & Geo-ecology
Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte, Philippines
     VSU Team Members: Dr. A.B. Tulin, Dr. S.B. Lina, Dr. R. Salas and Cecille M. O. QuiƱones
Project Partners: Dr. Pearl B. Sanchez (UPLB); Dr. Gina Nilo & Karen Bautista (BSWM),
Dr. Apol Gonzaga & Dr. Nelda Gonzaga (MOSCAT), Dr. Ben Aspera, Emily Garcia & Edwin Sardido (Landcare Foundation Phil Inc), and Dr. Jun Mercado (ICRAF).  

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