THE CRAWFORD FUND E-Newsletter, October 2015
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Highlights E-Newsletter
The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit foundation that conducts activities to raise awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries from international agricultural research. It commissions studies on research policy and practice, and arranges specialist training activities for developing country agricultural scientists.

Following on from the success of our 2015 Annual Parliamentary Conference, the 45 Crawford Fund Scholars have produced short reports on their experiences of the conference and scholars’ day. These are available on our website and can be viewed here.
UWA Vodcasts
In addition, those students studying sustainable agriculture and food security at the University of Western Sydney, who also attended the conference, have produced four short conference vodcasts. Make sure you check these out on our Crawford Fund YouTube site.

The Fund also had a group of scholars who were part of the Global Youth in Ag Summit, held soon after our conference in Canberra. They presented a report on our conference to the 100 young agricultural leaders from 33 countries who attended the Summit. Two representatives were then tasked with presenting the Summit findings and declaration to our keynote speaker, Gerda Verburg (head of the UN Committee on Food Security), in Rome.

The Crawford Fund looks forward to continuing our encouragement of youth in agriculture and agricultural research in 2016 and welcomes your support too. You can donate to our efforts through our online facility.
The ninth International Wheat Conference (IWC 2015) was held in Sydney late last month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness of key issues around the role of wheat in global food security. The Fund was pleased to support this significant international event by managing the media strategy and coverage for both the conference and the preceding Borlaug Global Rust Initiative workshop, and supporting some training in advanced breeding technologies.

International Wheat Conference Dr Sanjaya Rajaram (pictured), 2014 World Food Prize winner and 2001 Crawford Fund Derek Tribe Award winner, was keynote speaker at both events. In a range of interviews organised by the Fund, Dr Rajaram argued that combining biotechnology with conventional breeding methods may be the only means of helping smallholder farmers and large corporate farm systems avert global famine. Read his opinion piece in the Weekly Times. Details of other media coverage is on the Crawford Fund site.
The Africa Plant Biosecurity Network aims to improve plant biosecurity and safe trade of agricultural products in ten African countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Crawford Fund is part of the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership, which is training selected Biosecurity Fellows who will be the first members of this network. These Fellows (pictured below) have now arrived in Australia for six weeks training which will include:
  • Biosecurity Fellowsindividual placements, with governments, and research organisations, to work on priority African plant pest and disease issues
  • science communication skills training, provided by the Crawford Fund and Econnect Communication.
“Crop pests and diseases are major limitations to eastern African farmer incomes and food security,” said Dr Michael Robinson, CEO of Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) which is leading the project.

The Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership is funded by the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC), within the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). For more information and to read the media release, please visit our website.
The 2015 Global Hunger Index was recently released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

Shenggen FanThe report found that despite progress in reducing hunger worldwide, hunger levels in 52 of 117 countries remain ‘serious’ (44 countries) or ‘alarming’ (8 countries).
IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan (pictured) said, “We are more confident today than ever before that we can end hunger, provided we do not rest on our accomplishments.”

“We must keep pushing, keep partnering, and keep innovating until nutrient-rich foods become sustainably accessible, available, and used by everyone in order to reach their full potential.”

More on the report and its findings are available on our website. The Crawford Fund’s Director, Dr Denis Blight, will be attending the 40th anniversary celebrations of IFPRI coming up later this year.
The Derek Tribe Award was initiated in 2001, in honour of the outstanding contributions to the promotion of international agricultural research by the founding director of the Fund, Emeritus Professor Derek Tribe AO, OBE, FTSE. The award is made biennially to a citizen of a developing country, in order to recognise their significant contributions to agriculture or natural resource management.

Nominations of developing country researchers for the 2015 Derek Tribe Award are still open. For more details on the terms and conditions, please visit our website. The closing date for nominations has been extended to 29 February 2016.
Recent and upcoming Crawford Fund training programs include the following:
  • Soil Analysis Training ParticipantsSoil Analysis TrainingTwo workshops on soil fertility analysis were held in Thailand throughout August, with participants from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (pictured). The overall objective was to agree on key soil fertility analyses to be undertaken by selected labs, and to assist a range of South East Asian countries with their interpretation of soil testing—crucial steps in managing soils for sustainable agricultural systems.
  • Catchment Management MCA Crawford Fund Master Class on ‘Building Capacities for Integrated Agricultural Catchment Management’ is due to take place in Bangkok in late October. Policy makers and managers now need skills to manage catchments in a way that considers biophysical and socioeconomic processes, so the training covers the essential principles and tools that underpin holistic approaches to water management in agriculturally important catchments.
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