Kiera Dymond

Sustainable avocado production: Challenges, solutions and the role of biodiversity

For the past 12 years I have been working and studying in a range of different fields related to agriculture and international development.  After completing a B.Sc in International Development, I worked for several years on organic farms with the aim of increasing my practical understanding of agriculture.  I then undertook an M.Sc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, in order to provide more scientific knowledge to my practical background.  For the past five years I have been working in East Africa on a range of sustainable agriculture projects.  Most recently I have been based in rural Kenya where I have been researching impactful agricultural products/ farming techniques relevant to smallholder farmers.

I am excited to be starting this PhD to further my knowledge on ago-ecology and to gain a deeper understanding of commercial agriculture.  My project will be based in Chile and is looking at how biodiversity, through pollinators and other beneficial insects, contributes to avocado production.  In addition to this, I will also aim to understand how this production is affecting biodiversity through changes to land and water use.