Everyday plant health heroes

Bosibori (Bosi) Bett

Project Officer, Plant Health Australia

For me it means better crops, improved livelihoods (in terms of food provision, nutrition, and income) and a healthy nation.

How did you choose your job? Or did it choose you?

I gained interest in plant health in year 5. I grew up seeing my dad (a bacteriologist) collect sick tomato fruits and potato tubers from our vegetable
garden back in Kenya. I visited his pathology lab occasionally after school, where I saw him dissect the sick samples and I found that fascinating. Inspired by his work, I pursued a science degree and later joined an agricultural research organisation to work on sweetpotato and cassava virus diseases. Since then I have been passionate about disseminating clean (disease-free) planting material to smallholder farmers and, currently, I am enthusiastically contributing to government and industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia.

How long have you worked in this industry?

I have been engaged in plant health since 2001, working on improving grains, legumes, root and tuber crops against pests and disease, and technology dissemination to farmer groups.

What does plant health mean to you?

For me it means better crops, improved livelihoods (in terms of food provision, nutrition, and income) and a healthy nation.

What are your three greatest achievements in this role?

My greatest achievements lie in the collaborative partnerships with like-minded individuals (and organisations) to improve crop health. I am delighted to see the smiles on farmers’ faces upon receiving and harvesting better crops and my engagement in raising awareness on protecting plant health within the Kiswahili community through the Canberra Multicultural Service radio program and community newsletter.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day entails reviewing information on pests of concern for several Australian industries (including tropical fruits, mushrooms and grains), writing reference documents and corresponding with relevant stakeholders, which is quite rewarding.

What advice would you give anybody wanting to get into the industry?

Have the interest, the passion and a will to learn.


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