NT Forum “Developing the Indo-Pacific Region and Developing the North: Opportunities and Partnerships,”

The Crawford Fund Queensland Committee held its 2018 Forum and Networking Reception at Queensland’s Parliament House in Brisbane on Monday 19 February. The ‘Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security: Involving the Next Generation’ event celebrated and discussed Queensland’s work for food security.

This year’s event was focused on attracting more young people to agriculture for development, so it highlighted some of the young Queenslanders we have supported in their work overseas, and the win-win-win situation that results, with benefits flowing back to them, to Queensland, and the developing country they worked in.

Our 130 guests also heard more about Australia’s agricultural development work in the region, particularly involving Queensland’s researchers and industries, and how the opportunities available to them via our training programs and awards.

Professor Kaye Basford FTSE, Chair of the Crawford Fund Queensland Committee, welcomed guests and drew attention to the Queensland Student Awards to help students gain valuable experience and expertise in international agricultural research.

The event was officially opened by The Hon. Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

Dr Dan Walker, Chief Scientist and Dr Peter Horne, General Manger, Country Programs, both from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), discussed the importance of Queensland’s ongoing involvement in food security in their presentation – Progress in food security and the importance of Queensland expertise.

This was followed by Dr Colin Chartres, Chief Executive Officer, The Crawford Fund, discussing the importance of capacity building as a cornerstone of the work undertaken by the Crawford Fund in Australia and overseas.

These presentations were followed by the ‘stars of the day’ in a discussion panel of young Queensland agricultural scientists, moderated by our Qld Committee member and former scholar, Dr Lee Hickey who has attracted international attention lately with his ‘speed breeding’ technology. Three young Queenslanders, who have received Crawford Fund support talked about their work, its benefits in-country, to Queensland, and to them personally and professionally. Click on the links below to access the their presentations.

Breeding, hygiene & quarantine in prawn farming – Vietnam
Ms Tansyn Noble, James Cook University

Fire ants and sweet potatoes – friend or foe? – Solomon Islands
Mr John Fasi, Solomon Islands National University & UQ

They were followed by Tara McKenzie, University of Sunshine Coast; RAID member; former Crawford Fund Scholar and ACIAR Graduate Officer. Her presentation, How do I get involved? gave suggestions on avenues to follow to get your foot in the door in ag for development.

Finally, Prof Bob Lawn, Coordinator of the Crawford Fund Queensland Committee, spoke about the importance of engagement, through events like this forum and reception, not only with researchers, industry and government, but importantly with young people keen on a career in international research and development in agriculture.

“Our training of developing country scientists which leads to a myriad of life and livelihood improvements for those involved is reliant on both our strong and supportive partnerships with Queensland researchers and institutions, and increasingly, the young, passionate and committed researchers we have in our alumni now,” said Prof Lawn.

“We aim to continue our efforts to encourage young Queenslanders in their studies, careers and volunteering in agriculture for development,” he said.

“We have received tremendous feedback from the Forum about the impact of our work with individual scientists, Queensland industries and to developing countries from our own training projects and through aid-funded Federal projects,” said Prof Lawn.

Dr Colin Chartres launched the Crawford Fund’s Journalism Award, a competition that aims to encourage working Australian journalists to investigate the important roles that agricultural research, training and rural development play in global food security. The prize is a ‘seeing is believing‘ visit for the winning journalist to a developing country. More information about this award, including how to apply, can be found here.