2017 Summer Travel Grant Series: Internship and Field Work in Vanuatu

Summer Travel Grant 2017 Recipient 

Lilly Fatdal



The EWCA travel grant enabled me to complete a four week internship program and one week of field work with the collaboration of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Vanuatu.

During the internship placement, I was able to participate in national conferences and farm visits. During these visits I taught and assisted extension officers on how to identify Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) symptoms on kava. At the same time I trained them on how to use Immunostrip assay to test for Cucumber mosaic virus, which is a severe cause of dieback disease of kava, resulting in total crop loss.


Lilly Fatdal engaging in Immunostrip training with DARD extension officers and farmers

After the internship period, another week was devoted to my field survey of CMV on kava in Efate and Santo. The extension services were able to provide logistical support to the major kava farms in these two kava major producing islands. I collected samples and stored them for Immunostrip analyses. The field survey was part of my graduate study requirement for a Masters(Non-Thesis) in Tropical Plant Pathology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.


Sample collection from kava farms

Through the collaboration I was able to increase my knowledge of the issues affecting farmers in the country. It has also provided me with a profound understanding of the constraints and the limiting factors of crop protection management in the field.

I am blessed to be selected as one of the recipients for this grant, and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the selection team for the trust they had in selecting me  as well as the financial support.