2012 Young Scholars: Gausul Azam

Gausul Azam
Gausul Azam

University of Adelaide

To sum up, it was one of the best experiences I have had in Australia.

Having working experience in few Asian countries, I had a great scope to get the research experience in a developed country. I got that opportunity while studying my PhD at Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide. I am always inspired to take every opportunity to develop my professional skills. I was thrilled when I learnt that Crawford Fund could support me to attend the Parliamentary Conference 2012.

My sincere thanks go to the Crawford Fund.

The theme of the conference completely matches with my experience and future interest. What a great title it was: The Scramble for Natural Resources: More Food, Less Land? In the first session Dr Derek Byerlee showed us the whole picture of the global land, its use and potentials to expand our farmland, land rights and land distribution. He summarized that we need to intensify our farming in productive land rather than trying to expand towards the unused, marginal and hostile landscape.

Then Professor Jonathan Foley, what a legend he is! His presentation was the one of the best presentations I have ever participated. What an amazing idea it was: “we should calculate how many calories we produce by investing one unit of our natural resources”. He showed us “how important it is to think both agricultural and environmental aspects together”. I wish I would meet him again.

In the same session, Dr Frank Rijsberman showed how extensively and efficiently his organization CGIAR is working in developing countries. I remember him saying ‘some of the results were too good to believe’. I believe it is possible. There are countries and places we can improve their farming to a greater extent and as a result that our statistic on the improvement might appeared unrealistic.

One of the other speakers: Dr Andrew Noble from IWMI was great. His talk inspired me to learn more about water resources especially hidden water in deep soil profile. Dr Christine Padoch showed us the importance of forestry in sustaining livelihood of so many communities and need for considering critically before converting a square meter of forest land into other usages. We saw the great picture in China from the presentation of Professor Xuemei. How urbanization is taking over our peri-urban prime agricultural land. We learnt lot about contribution of mining in our economy and awareness of mining people to maintain sustainability of our natural resources. We should not blame mining blindly as many media do! Therefore, the first day was a great day!

Very next day, the gathering at breakfast! I have to say, how privileged I felt when two of the members of parliament sat with us. I can’t imagine it in the country where I was born. Thank you Australia! While having such great breakfast, we had 3 great talks again from 3 great speakers whose name I already mentioned. We had some great questions especially from young scholars. This was a place where elderly and young embraced each other and it must continue forward. Finally, we had a great session with people from ACAIR, AusAID and Crawford committee. We shared our works and talked about future plan. It was a great opportunity!

To sum up, it was one of the best experiences I have had in Australia. I want to build up on this experience, possibly by engaging and contributing to the research and development in International Agriculture.