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THE CRAWFORD FUND E-Newsletter, February 2017
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Highlights E-Newsletter
STORIES THIS MONTH
The Crawford Fund is a not-for-profit organisation 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.

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OUR NEW CHAIR ATTRACTS NATIONAL ATTENTION FOR FOOD SECURITY
John AndersonWe would like to warmly welcome The Hon John Anderson AO as the new Chair of the Crawford Fund.

As an Australian farmer and former Deputy Prime Minister, John has always been a passionate supporter of agricultural research. He has been a member of the Fund’s Board since 2010 and will now replace The Hon John Kerin AM, former Minister for Primary Industries and for Trade and Development, who has retired with our sincere thanks for dedicating six years to the role.

As our new Chair, John recently opened a forum (reported below), which provided the opportunity for a national media outreach on the food security and peace nexus and other issues such as the importance of engaging young people in agriculture. Coverage included an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, a national TV interview on ABC TV News 24, as well as national radio and rural print media coverage. You can read more about the event and additional associated media on our website.

As Chair, John hopes to engage more with the private sector and with young agricultural scientists.

“I want to spread the good news about the mutual benefit of agricultural research for farmers, and for improved trade and better environmental outcomes—and to engage more young people with passion and enthusiasm in farming and agricultural research at home and abroad.”

You can read more about John and his new appointment on our website.
FOOD SECURITY & PEACE—DFAT WHITE PAPER
In an attempt to better understand the connections between food security, biosecurity and regional security, the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) and the Crawford Fund co-hosted a forum on 22 February in Canberra on 'Security3: Food Security, Biosecurity and National Security in the Melanesian Arc'. The event brought together diverse perspectives from foreign affairs, aid, defence, biosecurity, agriculture and fisheries.
 
“The Melanesian Arc is markedly different from Africa and the Middle East," said Dr Denis Blight, CEO of the Crawford Fund. He explains that these differences occur within shifting agriculture, social and religious structures, migration and issues of climate variability.

HC Fiji"These factors, combined with population increase, declining soil fertility, fading 'subsistence affluence', 
absence of alternative industry and employment opportunities, as well as extended periods of drought, are worrying trends,” said Dr Blight.

His Excellency Mr Yogesh Punja, Fijian High Commissioner, is shown here addressing the Forum (left). Presentation slides from the event are on the AIIA website.

The Fund will be including information gleaned from the forum in its submission to Australia's first foreign policy White Paper since 2003. Our submission will be reported on our website and in the next newsletter.
DATE CLAIMER: 2017 ANNUAL CONFERENCE 7-8 AUGUST
We are pleased to announce that our 2017 conference will be held on 7 and 8 August in Canberra, with the conference networking dinner and Sir John Crawford Memorial Address at The Realm Ballroom and one-day conference in Parliament House.

                          

The current title for the event is 'Transforming Lives with the Power of Information' and it will focus on the current and future likely impact of the data revolution for smallholder farmers.
 

We are so pleased to have
Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, an authoritative leader in agriculture, climate change and nutrition, presenting the Sir John Crawford Memorial Address on Monday, 7 August. Dr Sibanda is Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Africa, and Member of ACIAR’s Policy Advisory Council. With over 25 years of trans-disciplinary experience in rural development, public sector reforms and private sector management, and having worked for a range of international and African institutions, we look forward to her insights as part of our opening night.
 
We can also announce that Dr Andy Jarvis, who is leading the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, will be one of this year’s keynote speakers.
Dr Jarvis is Research Area Director, Decision and Policy Analysis at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He is heading the current effort that has a partnership with the 15 CGIAR Research Centers and 12 Research Programs in the Platform, alongside 47 external partners, which range from international institutions and universities to private companies. They cover public to private, developing to developed country, and analytics to deployment.
 
As noted on the CGIAR platform, the smart and effective use of data will be one of the most important tools for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Big data represents an unprecedented opportunity to find new ways of reducing hunger and poverty, by applying data-driven solutions to ongoing research for development impact.
 
We will make further announcements as we build our program for August
—save the dates!
 
And we will again be offering our conference scholarships to enable young Australians to attend the conference and special activities to encourage them in their study, careers
and volunteering in agricultural research for development. If you would like to support these efforts and sponsor attendance by young and early career agricultural students, please contact Cathy Reade.
QUEENSLAND EVENT—TASMANIA TO COME
The Fund's Queensland Committee held a successful 2017 Forum and Networking Reception at Queensland’s Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday 15 February. The ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ event focussed on Queensland’s impacts and benefits in agricultural research. Its aim was to highlight the great work Queenslanders do in international agriculture, the benefits flowing back to Queensland’s agriculture and researchers, and its impact in developing countries.

Presentations were made by Professor Kaye Basford FTSE, Chair of the Crawford Fund Queensland Committee; Queensland’s new Chief Scientist, Professor Suzanne Miller; and Dr Peter Horne, General Manager, Country Programs, ACIAR. It was generally agreed that a highlight of the event was the moderated panel discussion, comprising a selection of early-career agricultural scientists who have been supported in some way by the Fund. During the panel session, they discussed the personal and professional benefits of their international agricultural research experiences.


                                             Qld Discussion Panel
       Discussion panel: Gurion Ang, Tarni Cooper, Madaline Healey, Adam Redman, and moderator, Lee Hickey.

“The feedback we have received is that the afternoon was an outstanding success and provided the opportunity to explain the benefits to individual scientists, to Queensland industries and to developing countries from our own training projects and through aid-funded Federal projects carried out with Queenslanders,” said Dr Bruce Pengelly, Coordinator of the Crawford Fund Queensland Committee. The following day, Bruce made a presentation on the Fund to around 80 of ACIAR's Queensland and northern NSW project leaders, also explaining his committee's recently launched awards for Queensland researchers to carry out training in developing countries (see item below).

You can learn more about the event here, and plans are now underway for a Tasmanian 'Doing Well by Doing Good' state event on 10 May in Government House, Hobart. This event will include an address by the Hon Jeremy Rockliff, Tasmania's Deputy Premier and Minister for Primary Industries.
STATE AWARDS—APPLY NOW
As explained by the young scientists at our Brisbane event (noted above), gaining international field experience has proven to be invaluable to those Australian agricultural students who have ventured into the world of international agricultural research and development. We, therefore, encourage tertiary students to apply for our State travel awards—applications are now open for Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania tertiary students through our State Committee International Travel Awards.

Qld AwardeeThe State Committees are making these awards available to tertiary students with an interest in gaining international agricultural research and development experience and expertise in the field in a developing country.

The Fund's Qld Committee is also inviting applications for training of international scientists and extension staff under its International Training Awards program.


A reminder that the closing date for award applications is 17 March 2017 and each relevant State Coordinator is happy to take enquiries.
CRAWFORD & RAID
RAIDWe continue working with RAID—the tremendous network of young agricultural researchers and students—to provide networking opportunities for young Australians to learn more about career, volunteering and study opportunities in international agricultural research.

We noted in our last newsletter the RAID Capacity Building and Networking event that was held in Melbourne on 15 February. A video on the event is here: Participants seemed to be MAD about Mobile Acquired Data!


We spread word of these great events on our website and Twitter accounts, as does RAID, so stay tuned for the next one.
TRAINING UPDATES
Managing Pests in Storage in Tanzania
 
A training program on 'Best practice management of postharvest pests in storage in Tanzania’ was held in Arusha, Tanzania, for 10 government and private sector managers and field staff.

Pest ManagementThe aim of the training was to improve decision making and policy development in order to benefit Tanzanian agricultural trade, food
security and market-linked activities. It has enhanced the skills and awareness of the participants on biosecurity systems and practices, and highlighted the need for close working relationships between producers, grain storage facilities, transport operators, exporters and regulators. The workshop included a lively discussion on technologies that could be applied in Tanzanian grain production systems, and identified suitable trial opportunities for the application of postharvest treatments.
 
The training program was arranged with the Tanzanian National Plant Protection Organisation, as a result of the existing connection with the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership
. You can read more about the training on our website.
Trainee Award Visit: Importance of Soils

SA SoilsDr Upendra Kumar is a microbiologist from the ICAR-National Rice Research Institute at Cuttack in India. Dr Kumar is interested in learning more about the biological functioning of soils and how this affects agricultural production in India. He recently completed 3 months of training with Dr Gupta Vadakattu and the project team at the CSIRO Microbiology Laboratories in Adelaide to look more closely at soil biological activity and fertility status.

His training program was entitled ‘Application of molecular tools to understand the biological functions in agricultural soils’. During his training, Dr Kumar gained hands-on experience with various DNA and biochemical techniques, and on using new equipment for molecular microbial ecology and plant-microbe research. He applied his new skills to assess differences in abundance and composition of root microbial communities of barley seedlings, which were growing in a cropping system experiment at Karoonda in South Australia. You can find more detail about his training visit on our website.
EVENTS
We would like to highlight some upcoming events that have a food security focus. We welcome information about any food security related events you may have planned.
SUPPORT US
Like what you read about what we do? Want to learn more or perhaps support our work or become involved? You can contact Cathy Reade to discuss or click here to donate online.

Donations to the Fund are tax deductible.
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