The Crawford Fund, founded in 1987, is celebrating 35 years of outcomes and impacts in 2022. We can add in ACIAR’s 40th anniversary for good measure this year! These milestones provide an opportunity for all those who are a part of Australia’s rich history in agriculture for development to get together and celebrate but also to reflect and to consider the future.

With a focus on the benefits, impact and future challenges in the quest for improving food and nutrition security, “Celebrating Agriculture for Development – Outcomes, Impacts and the Way Ahead,” will be held in the Great Hall, Parliament House Canberra. On 15 August, we will have our popular specially-styled networking dinner, including the 2022 Sir John Crawford Memorial Address and on 16 August our one day Parliamentary Conference.

Our conference is Australia’s key food security event, and this year will be a better-than-ever opportunity to network given COVID-travel restrictions have lifted and, we hope, many current and former collaborators will be attending for this special celebration and important opportunity to provide your input on how best to have an impact and deal with the issues on the horizon.

We agree wholeheartedly with Sir John Crawford, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that fostering growth in the agricultural sector is the most effective way to reduce poverty and hunger and deliver positive flow-on effects for food and nutrition security, with significant impacts at home as well as for poorer nations.

Through the years of the Fund and ACIAR’s existence, there has been significant Australian investment in international agricultural research and associated capacity building.  ACIAR has been contributing to bilateral programs involving Australian institutes and partner overseas agencies as well as multilateral programs with international centres and the CGIAR. And the Fund’s capacity building has invested with our specialists and overseas partners in training to benefit both.

The Crawford Fund founder, Emeritus Professor Derek Tribe, described Australia’s contribution to this research and training as “Doing Well by Doing Good.” The aim of our 2022 conference is not only to look at the mutual benefit and impacts of Australian investment on global food security and poverty alleviation in the last three and-a-half decades, but also to consider the effects of emerging threats including climate change and changing geo-political conditions on agricultural production, food chains and the environment.

Understanding these threats and adapting Australia’s research and our capacity building program to deal with them leaves us with a better chance of concluding in another 35 years’ time that we continue to do well by doing good.

Later this year we will be launching two reports we have commissioned on the return on investment in this area both financially, and from an evaluation of the benefits arising from investments in environment and natural resources, capacity development, gender equity, disability and social inclusion issues and soft power/diplomatic outcomes. We look forward to presenting the reports’ findings in a series of events around the country through 2022 and 2023. 

Our conference audience will again include views from science, agriculture, politics, business and civil society to help focus our attention on the way forward.

We look forward to seeing you at our 2022 conference and hope that the focus on these significant issues improves understanding and appreciation on future directions to ensure food and nutrition security in an increasingly inter-connected world.