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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Carol's Special Project in Tibet

May 10, 2009

TODD CONNAUGHTON
Macleay Argus (Australia)
May 8, 2009

CAROL Rose from the NSW Department of Primary Industry office in Kempsey left this week for her second trip to Tibet in six months.

Ms Rose is one of a team of agricultural specialists working as part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research program based in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The current project aims to increase milk production from dairy cattle by increasing the quality and quantity of fodder available to the animals.

This will enable the farmers to earn extra income by selling the excess cheese and yoghurt they can then produce.

Part of the problem is that the local cattle breeds, while hardy, are small and produce only small quantities of milk.

New Friesian stock introduced from China has improved the situation, but the lack of fodder is still the major problem.

Ms Rose said one of the biggest challenges of the assignment was adapting to the high altitude.

"For the first few days, you just have to acclimatise to the conditions or you risk getting altitude sickness," she said.

"You really notice the thin air when you try to run or climb stairs or anything strenuous. You can buy bottles of oxygen at the local pharmacy.

"I have a hit in the morning and in the evening to clear my head."

The harsh weather conditions and short growing seasons make it difficult for the local farmers to increase the fodder available to their cows, but even simple strategies can improve milk production.

"Even things like putting the feed in a trough so none is trampled underfoot, and ensuring that water is available all the time can make a big difference," Ms Rose said.

"Tibet is a very dry country, all the water they have is melting snow, so making sure the cows have enough water can be tricky.

"And of course all the feed the cows eat their carry owners to the cows; they don’t graze in open pasture."

Ms Rose said it was an unexpected surprise and an honour to be asked to be part of the project team, which is made up of specialists from all over Australia.

She said the people were very friendly despite the language barriers.

"I can say the basic phrases in Tibetan although I’ve just realised I’ve forgotten how to say ‘where is the toilet?’ but holding up a toilet roll works in any language," she said.
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