Congratulations to Waite PhD candidate Manithaythip Thepevanh who was successful in her application for a Crawford Fund 2019 International Student Award.

These competitive grants provide recipients with an opportunity to gain international agricultural research experience in developing countries.

Manithaythip’s project is Engaging youth in agricultural entrepreneurship in Laos. She is a student in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and is supervised primarily by Associate Professor Matthew Denton, and co-supervised by Dr Ian Nuberg and Dr Joshua Philp.

Active involvement of youth in agriculture is necessary for sustainable agricultural systems, however there is a global trend that youth do not perceive there to be opportunities in agriculture.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) is a developing country that is highly agrarian and also has the lowest average age of residents in all of Asia. Whilst approximately 75 % of its young people work in the agricultural sector, it is estimated that only half do so with any market interaction. There is a danger of rural youth being left behind as Laos modernises.

This investigation will apply social research methodologies to examine rural opportunities for young people in Laos from the perspective of key institutions, farmers and young people who have not yet began their careers.

“I am so grateful to the Crawford Fund for supporting this research. This award will allow me to expand the investigation into more regions, reach more diverse informants, and obtain more perspectives from stakeholders in this complex issue,” Manithaythip said of winning the award.

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