Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Victoria
We wish to thank the Gardiner Foundation for supporting Zita’s attendance.
Zita is a Dairy Extension Officer in Warrnambool Victoria and is currently studying a Master of International Development. Currently, her role involves project development of an ACIAR project called IndoDairy which aims to support smallholder dairy farmers in Indonesia grow milk supply and improve milk quality. Zita has experience in rural development through her role as Australian Youth Ambassador working as an Agricultural Officer with the Kenya Red Cross Society on livelihood and food security projects. In her work with DEPI, she specialises in climate risk extension for the dairy industry and is experienced in group facilitation, extension and dairy farm business management.
…The range of people I met ranging from fellow scholars to experienced researchers was definitely one of the most valuable outcomes from attending this conference…
The Crawford Fund Conference brought together a wealth of experience across the international agricultural research and development field. The cross cutting theme of feeding the world’s population of 9 billion by 2050 ethically and efficiently was discussed.
The opening address by Catherine Bertini was no doubt a highlight, bringing back into perspective the importance of gender in addressing food security. The role of women in agriculture is central and she emphasised, “don’t’ forget the ladies” when looking at solutions for improving food security. Second to this, Ms Bertini mentioned the need to enter into a “rainbow revolution”, thinking outside of the box for more effective food security solutions. Furthermore, she provided valuable insights at the young scholar session on the operational and organisational visions of United Nations agencies, including the World Food Program (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which resonated with me personally having working directly in the field in Kenya with WFP programs.
Diverse perspectives were presented during the conference. They included discussion on Genetic Modification (GM) in agriculture, where investigative findings of Dr Elizabeth Finkal were particularly poignant and topical in today’s context regarding the contribution of GM in meeting future food needs.
The role of smallholder farmers, was touched on a by a few speakers and that smallholders still can play a significant role in meeting current and future security needs. However Dr Fen, mentioned the need for small farmers to “move up or move out” which presented an interesting perspective of economy of scale as a way forward for agricultural systems. However, food security doesn’t necessarily mean self-sufficiency, in which case international trade also forms part of the solution, discussed by Mr Luke Chandler from Rabobank.
Since attending the conference I now have a much greater appreciation of the work of Sir John Crawford and the current work of the Crawford Fund. It was inspiring to be around a team of extremely passionate and experienced people who keep the memory and work of Sir Crawford to continue. Addressing food security and livelihoods at the smallholder farmer level is of particular interest of mine, and conference allowed me the to connect with experienced researchers in this area of work in the broader global food security context.
An introduction to the RAID network was a personal highlight, with an opportunity to tap into a network of early to mid career agricultural researchers, whom I look forward to staying connected with as I continue to work in this field. The range of people I met ranging from fellow scholars to experienced researchers was definitely one of the most valuable outcomes from attending this conference. As a result I will seek to maintain contact with the Crawford network into the future and am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this conference.