PhD student Sundar Tiwari’s PhD research is helping to change the face of Nepalese agriculture.
Sundar, who comes from a rural Nepalese village, did his BSc and MSc in agricultural entomology at Tribhubhan University, Nepal. He works as an assistant professor at the Nepal Agriculture and Forestry University, focusing on integrated pest management
With the help of a PhD scholarship from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sundar joined the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University in 2016 and began research into sustainable intensification of Nepalese agriculture.
In his New Zealand-based research Sundar is seeking an alternative approach to pest management, looking to identify “trap plants” that can draw the wheat bug (Nysius huttoni) away from kale seedlings.
His experiments show that the popular garden plant alyssum (Lobularia maritima) has the highest potential as a trap plant for the bug, and it also provides many other ecosystem services (such as providing nectar for beneficial insects).
Working in Nepal on radish crops, he showed how to reduce aphid populations without pesticides, using alyssum flower strips around the fields.
“This technique is very simple and poor farmers can easily adopt it, especially because it costs less than using pesticides,” Sundar says.
Sundar has introduced many Nepalese farmers, students, and others in the agriculture sector to the concept of habitat management and multiple ecosystem services, and his work is influencing Nepalese agricultural policy.
“This work in my home country has made a real difference and is one of the many factors which have made my PhD training at Lincoln University so enjoyable,” he says.
Sundar’s supervisor is Professor Steve Wratten; his co-supervisor is Professor Nick Dickinson.
Source: Lincoln University