It is a well worn path from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga to Vietnam's Mekong Delta for research student Mr David Gale, but it will be made a little easier in 2014 with the assistance of a prestigious scholarship.
The PhD student has been named a recipient of a 2014 Prime Minister's Australia Asia Outgoing Postgraduate Scholarship
from the Australian Government.
Mr Gale will use the scholarship to support his 12-month field research from the middle of 2014 into the interactions between compost, synthetic fertilisers and crops in Vietnam.
"I will work out of Can Tho University as its location in the Mekong Delta enables direct access to local farmland impacted by acid sulphate soils.
"Baby corn and rice will be grown to explore the interactions between compost, synthetic fertiliser and the different crops.
"My research aims to reduce the dependence of subsistence farmers on large quantities of synthetic phosphorus fertilisers by increasing the efficiency of the fertiliser through the addition of compost to the soil.
"The dependence of the local farmers on large rates of synthetic fertiliser is a particular problem because of its rising global price."
Ultimately Mr Gale wants a career improving global food security by undertaking agricultural research projects at a community level in developing countries.
The 2014 Prime Minister's Australia Asia Outgoing Postgraduate Scholarship is part of the government's Australia Awards Endeavour Scholarship and Fellowship scheme.
Under the Endeavour program, CSU will host in 2014 a PhD student from Cambodia and three academics from universities in Iraq and the USA as well as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.