…I believe governments, with international bodies such as the UN, should be involved in regulating corporate social responsibility to prevent the exploitation and depletion of fertile land and natural resources through poorly managed mining practices.
I was very grateful to attend this year’s Crawford Conference in Perth as a Young Crawford Scholar. It was an extraordinary opportunity to meet others in my profession as well as gain considerable insights into the mining industry and opportunities for collaboration between the two.
It was really encouraging to meet other young passionate agricultural professionals as well as highly experienced experts of the field, offering me the opportunity to share common experiences with others new to the industry and also obtain knowledge from those of great reputation in agriculture. Knowing that there are others with the same enthusiasm and drive for sustainable agriculture was really inspiring, and I’m looking forward to staying connected with everyone and continuing dialogue started from the conference.
Previously, I have never had the opportunity to meet and talk with professionals from the mining industry, and this granted me a number of new insights. In particular, throughout the conference it was suggested that mining is actually a more efficient use of land than agriculture, given the amount of money that can be made relative to the area of land used.
During the event it became apparent to me that, despite initiatives such as this conference, there are far more opportunities for communication and collaboration between the agricultural and mining sectors, two historically conflicting sectors.
Better collaborative efforts through communicating mining survey data, particularly soil mapping data, with the agricultural sector would allow optimization of possible food production and flora rehabilitation efforts in these regions. I believe this presents further opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration between the two sectors.
Despite this, I am still sceptical mining and agriculture can be mutually beneficial and of benefit to communities, given that there is no independent regulation of the mining industry’s corporate social responsibility towards said communities or the agriculture sector. I believe governments, with international bodies such as the UN, should be involved in regulating corporate social responsibility to prevent the exploitation and depletion of fertile land and natural resources through poorly managed mining practices.
The highlight of the conference for me was meeting Dr. Florence Chenoweth, the Minister of Agriculture for Liberia. Hearing her speak of her life’s work, despite incredible difficulty and challenges, was incredibly inspiring. I am grateful for all the work she has done, which has paved the way for women such as myself to become actively involved in agricultural research, and to empower rural women worldwide to take up agriculture and support their families financially.
I wish to warmly thank the members of the Crawford Fund for the opportunity to attend this conference, especially Bob Edgar for encouraging me to apply, and Ted Hayes for putting my name forward for selection. I look forward to presenting these insights and many others to you in person later this year.