The Crawford Fund, For a food secure world.

Emerging Priorities News & Articles

The Crawford Fund highlights new developments in R&D and policy discussion around food security through a series of articles on our website. Previous articles are listed below. Readers are encouraged to sign up on our homepage for our RSS feeds, to be alerted to new stories on our website, or contact the Fund to receive our newsletter.


Facing the Global Food Crisis

You are invited to a free forum in Sydney on 18 March to hear from some of the remarkable people from NSW who are delivering training and research projects overseas, with major benefits to developing countries and also to NSW, and to discuss how, together, we can accelerate a virtuous cycle of further improvement. This event follows the launch of our "Doing Well by Doing Good" report late last year, and our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the benefits to Australia and developing countries from international agricultural research and the work of the Fund.

"Facing the Global Food Crisis: Using Trade and Aid for a Food Secure World" is being held in NSW Parliament House Theatrette, Macquarie Street Sydney on 18 March from 2.30-5.30pm. The program is here Facing the Global Food Crisis - Program March 18, 2014

Robyn Alders, Sydney Uni, will explain her work for over 2 decades to bring real change through poultry research
Robyn Alders, Sydney Uni, will explain her work for over 2 decades to bring real change through poultry research

Global food security remains a pressing issue despite huge advances in recent years. In some of our closest neighbouring countries, like Papua New Guinea and East Timor, childhood stunting due to malnutrition remains a severe problem, preventing whole societies from raising themselves out of poverty.

Human population is expected to increase to 9.6 billion by 2050 and Asia still accounts for 62 per cent of all undernourished people in the world. This poses ongoing threats to regional stability, emerging markets and trade. Along with the demand for better food from a burgeoning global middle class, it will place unprecedented stress on food supplies but also create opportunities for food and technology exporting countries such as Australia.

Dr Suzie Newman, DPI NSW, will present on her experiences working with vegetable farmers, like Mrs Saron, in Cambodia.
Dr Suzie Newman, DPI NSW, will present on her experiences working with vegetable farmers, like Mrs Saron, in Cambodia.


NSW makes enormous contributions to Australia's effort at improving global food security. Surprisingly, whilst we are a major food trading nation, our greatest help is through export of scientific technologies, created by over a century of agricultural research to improve our own food production. This knowledge is now being applied in many developing countries to foster their sustainable agricultural systems, creating long-lasting goodwill which flows on to benefit our broader bilateral and trade relations. And this agricultural research assists farmers not only in the developing world, but also here, to a value exceeding what we spend on it.

The Crawford Fund is part of the effort to translate this vast experience and goodwill to empower the farmers, scientists and communities in developing countries to solve their own problems, while at the same time benefiting the Australians and their institutions involved – we are, in effect, 'Doing Well by Doing Good'.

Dr Darryl Savage, UNE, will discuss work with his Cambodian research team and farmers on livestock forages.
Dr Darryl Savage, UNE, will discuss work with his Cambodian research team and farmers on livestock forages.

The Crawford Fund, a not-for-profit organisation established over 25 years ago, helps some of our highly experienced scientists to pass on their knowledge and expertise in food production through training and mentoring of developing country scientists. It operates with a tiny budget, achieving a tremendous multiplier on every dollar invested in our training, due to the goodwill and effectiveness of these scientists and the State committees who allocate the funds.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), through the aid program, engages Australian institutions in research partnerships with developing countries that contribute to economic growth here and abroad.

We would like to invite you to hear from some of the remarkable people from NSW who are delivering training and research projects overseas, through the Fund and ACIAR, and to discuss how, together, we can accelerate a virtuous cycle of further improvement.

We do hope to welcome you to this important event. 

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. John Anderson, AO

Chairman, NSW Committee

The Crawford Fund



                    The Hon John Kerin, AM


                    The Crawford Fund



International Research & Training “immense benefits to Australian agriculture”

In her address at our NSW ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’ event on 18 March, The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, acknowledged the leadership of the Crawford Fund in training for development, expressed support for a collaborative approach to international agricultural research and confirmed the belief in the benefits of the work to Australian agriculture.  read more

The enthusiasm and energy of a group of young and not so young ag scientists and the supportive words of Senator Mason, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, were just part of what made our Brisbane event one to remember.   read more

We’re keen to encourage young Australians into agricultural science, and more so, young scientists into international agricultural research. Read a recent report from one of our conference scholars which highlights the passion that can be generated by knowing more about food security issues.  read more

The International Food Policy Research Institute has released new figures for the impact of climate change in Asia and Pacific countries. Dr Mark Rosegrant, presenting at the Australian Ag & Resource Economics Society Conference, predicted dramatic falls in staple crop production.  read more

In Australia, chickpeas are grown by farmers from Queensland to Victoria and across the South to WA, so many Australian farmers will be pleased with the news of a scientific breakthrough that promises improved grain yields and quality, greater drought tolerance and disease resistance, and enhanced genetic diversity for the humble chickpea, the second largest cultivated grain food legume in the world.  read more

The CGIAR Consortium is partnering with the Global Crop Diversity Trust to revitalize genebanks housing scores of crops considered essential to food security.  read more

“Derek Tribe was a gentleman and a scholar - and a visionary. He was the internationally renowned agricultural scientist who founded the Crawford Fund.” So began the speech by The Hon John Kerin, the Fund’s chairman in launching a biography of Derek by Professor Lindsay Falvey, at the Fund’s 2012 conference.  read more

For World Food Day 2012, a new Crawford Fund brief, Food from Thought – Bread from Stones, was launched by The Governor of Queensland and discussed at a special forum in Queensland. The brief calls for new partnerships to improve food security.  read more

With the upcoming Crawford Fund conference in October - “The Scramble for Natural Resources: More Food, Less Land?” - addressing the competition for natural resources and what that means for food security, the following opinion piece by Dr Terry Sunderland of the Centre for International Forestry Research is very timely.  read more

The theme for the Stockholm World Water Week in 2012 is Water and Food Security. The International Water Management Institute is this year’s Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and has released a key research report that sheds light on the huge potential of farmer-led innovation in water solutions.  read more

Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute will be addressing our 2012 conference on “Future Prospects: The Case for Malthusian Optimism.” His recent internationally reported opinion piece on the impact of the US drought on food prices noted it may result in higher prices for poor people around the world, and suggested six steps to rein in prices and head off out-of-control prices caused by this year's drought.  read more

We will be highlighting a number of briefs from international centres that will be part of efforts to ensure food security is considered within discussions at the Rio+20 conference. The International Food Policy Research Institute has released “A Green Economy and The Poor: Ensuring Food and Nutrition” which considers the implications for food security of pursuing a ‘green economy’ - one that pursues growth while promoting sustainable development through efficient use of resources.   read more

The global dimensions of land ownership and how that relates to world food security is on the agenda for our 2012 conference.  read more

IFPRI’s 2011 Global Food Policy Report provides a comprehensive, research-based analysis of major food policy challenges at the global, regional, national, and local levels.  read more

An independent commission of scientific leaders, including Dr Megan Clark from Australia's CSIRO, has released a detailed roadmap on how to achieve food security in the face of climate change.  read more

Renowned international economist and World Food Prize Laureate, Prof Per Pinstrup-Andersen, has warned that increased food price volatility is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future and will be at least as severe as it has been during the last few years. Yet he argues food prices need not increase.  read more

Two members of the Crawford Fund family, associated with the early days of Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) which was founded 30 years ago this June, welcomed the release by the Foreign Minister of a report by Professor Ian Chubb on new directions for the Centre. Dr Gabrielle Persley, who is Research Study Director for the Crawford Fund’s new research project on emerging priorities in agricultural research and Dr Denis Blight, Executive Director of the Crawford Fund, were the first two staff of the Centre.   read more

In his annual letter, Bill Gates has again drawn attention to the need to support international agricultural research.  read more

Who's counting? December 2011

Mankind reached its first billion just as the 19th century got underway. That feat of fecundity required eons. It took us just 12 years, however, to tack on the last billion. We’re definitely on a roll.  read more

In the lead up to UN global climate talks in Durban, South Africa later this month, an independent global commission of eminent scientists has released a set of concrete recommendations to policy makers on how to achieve food security in the face of climate change. Read more on the findings and statements by Dr Megan Clark, CEO of CSIRO who sits on the Commission.  read more

The 5th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture and 3rd International Farming Systems Design Conference is being held 26-29 September 2011 in Brisbane. Over 500 scientists from more than 70 countries will be attending to learn more about sustainability, conservation and the future development of agriculture  read more

The Crawford Fund is pleased to announce a new research study on emerging trends in world food security and their implications for international agricultural research. The purpose of the study is to analyze the emerging trends that will affect the future research agenda and identify potential new funding streams for such research. The study will also demonstrate the benefits of investments in international agricultural research.  read more

The Crawford Fund welcomes the publication of the findings of the review of the Australian aid program and the Government’s response to it, which were released on 6 July. The review was the first in 15 years and the report 'An Effective Aid Program for Australia: Making a real difference - Delivering real results' gives top marks to increased investment in international agricultural research.   read more

The first-ever official meeting of Ministers of Agriculture from G20 countries, to be held in Paris on June 22-23, presents an extraordinary opportunity. Tasked with developing an action plan to address price volatility in food and agricultural markets and its impact on the poor, the ministers are uniquely positioned to not only tackle the immediate price volatility problems, but also to take on a more fundamental and long-term challenge—extreme poverty and hunger.   read more

Dr Yvonne Buckley from the University of Queensland and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences addressed the Crawford Fund’s State Parliamentary Conference on responses to future tropical and sub-tropical biosecurity threats. In this article she argues that Australia’s biosecurity and environmental decision making is world-leading and this leadership will be needed to face the tough biosecurity challenges in the years ahead.  read more

The World will need to produce 70% more food by mid-century to feed a population projected to exceed 9 billion people. We will need to do this with expensive energy and depleting supplies of fertilizers. Some gains can still be made from crop breeding but yield increases from breeding are harder to get  read more

Food prices are rising and becoming more volatile amid expanding biofuel production, rising oil prices, US dollar depreciation, export restrictions, and panic purchasing. All this, a mere three years after the food crisis of 2007-08.  read more

Northern Australia is endowed with an enormous natural resource base and a small human population. Spanning tropical Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, it encompasses 42-46% of the land mass, depending on whether or not adjacent subtropical regions are included, but less than 5% of the Australian population (< 1 m people).  read more

What would your life be like if you were one of the 1.4 billion women, men and children who live in extreme poverty?  read more

On International Women’s Day 8 March, the Crawford Fund and the Australian Women in Agriculture (AWIA) network are calling on decision makers to give greater consideration to the crucial role women play in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.   read more

One of the world’s largest global scientific partnerships for sustainable agricultural development has launched a bold new research initiative that aims to dramatically improve the ability of rice farmers to feed growing populations in some of the world’s poorest nations.  read more

Hoping to save the vulnerable varieties of bananas painted by the artist Paul Gauguin, rare coconuts, and 1,000 other unique varieties of staple fruit and vegetable crops across the Pacific, crop specialists from nine islands have launched a major effort to preserve the indigenous diversity of foods that are deemed critical to combating diet-related health problems.  read more

A decade ago, the international community committed itself to halving the percentage of people who go hungry  read more

A new report by the International Water Management Institute, released at World Water Week in Stockholm, warns that increasingly erratic rainfall related to climate change will pose a major threat to food security and economic growth.  read more

The destruction of the globally important collection of fruit biodiversity at Pavlovsk Experiment Station moved a step closer today with a court decision in favour of the federal housing authority  read more

Russian property developers are preparing to bulldoze the world’s largest and most valuable field collection of genetically diversified fruits and berries - including almost 1000 types of strawberries from 40 countries - from which commercially grown varieties are derived.   read more

There are two things in the world that bring people together: football and potatoes.  read more

Dr Gabrielle Persley, from Toowong in Brisbane on Monday, received a Queen’s Birthday honour with an AM “for service to science through advisory roles with a range of national and international agricultural research organisations...  read more

Award winning international documentaries don’t happen overnight but the Crawford Fund facilitated one-hour TV documentary Seed Hunter was worth the wait. Seed Hunter follows Australian scientist Dr Ken Street on a quest through Central Asia to find rare genes that may save our food from the looming threat of climate change  read more

A group of Australian farmers, scientists, researchers, economists and wheat breeders have been named “Wheat Warriors” to honour their contributions to the war on hunger through collaboration with the world’s leading international wheat research and training organisation, the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (‘CIMMYT’ from the Spanish name).  read more

Call for partners to help develop a single authoritative database to monitor the spread of plant pests and diseases.  read more