PhD - Plant Pathology
University of Queensland, QLD
Aloesi is in her final year of a doctorate at the University of Queensland, where she is conducting research into plant pathology. Her research focuses on exploiting the use of plant activators to induce resistance against Alternaria solani (a foliar fungal pathogen),to improve tomato production for smallholder farmers in Fiji. Upon completion of her degree, she will be able to identify a feasible alternative to the use of synthetic fungicides, which will greatly assist Fijian smallholder farmers.
Aloesi started her career as a high school science teacher; a role that she found very rewarding, especially as she was helping children to enhance their knowledge. During her11 years in this role, she had the opportunity to be the head of several schools’ agricultural science departments and she realised that she had a passion for agricultural research. She took up a position at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community(SPC) as a Plant Health Field Coordinator and she was given the opportunity to lead a project team on an ACIAR-funded Integrated Crop Management project.
In her role at SPC, Aloesi has already been active in informally mentoring women in agricultural extension, encouraging them to step up and to be more active in taking on leadership roles. Aloesi would like to encourage women who are working in Fiji’s male-dominated agricultural sector and to support these women to bring out their potential, to make them feel that their contribution is valued, and have them realise that they are important within this sector. She would also like to build the capacity of women farmers so that they play a more active role in agribusiness throughout the value chain.