March 27, 2023
The Crawford Fund is calling for an increase in the proportion of the development assistance (aid) budget invested in agricultural research for development, as it hosts a series of events around the country celebrating the benefits globally, nationally and locally from involvement in international agricultural research for development.
The Doing Well by Doing Good events are offering a full and exciting program bringing alive the findings of two new Doing Well by Doing Good reports with local and international examples of mutual benefit, shared impact and genuine and lasting connections between Australian researchers and their global colleagues working together on international agricultural projects.
“It’s a no-brainer that more of Australia’s development assistance budget should be invested in international agricultural research. The Crawford Fund’s new reports, backed by international analyses, show a ballpark benefit-cost ratio of 10:1 on investment, and many less quantifiable social, environmental, and diplomatic benefits in-country, to Australia and to the researchers involved,” said Colin Chartres, Chief Executive Officer, The Crawford Fund.
“With only 2.5% of Australia’s development-assistance budget invested in it, surely it is in Australia’s interests to increase the proportion invested to maximise our impact and grow those benefits for all,” he said.
“Agriculture and food security are front and centre of world attention as we face the complex challenges of climate change, conflicts and COVID-19,” explained Colin.
St Patrick’s Day in South Australia…
The Hon Clare Scriven MLC, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development SA launched ‘Agriculture in the Asia-Pacific Region: Challenges, Opportunities and Achievements’ hosted by South Australia’s Crawford Fund Committee on 17 March.
“Our farmers gain access to new crop varieties, management technologies and biosecurity knowledge. Additional benefits beyond improving food and nutrition security for our neighbours include building scientific capacity, protecting and restoring natural resources, improving the environment and empowering women,” explained Hon Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO, Chair, SA Crawford Fund Committee.
The program included Prof Andrew Campbell, CEO, ACIAR, Dr Colin Chartres, CEO, The Crawford Fund and a range of NextGen, trainers and project leaders all with international experience to explain their work, its impact and benefit in-country and to South Australia, and on them personally and professionally.
Exploring future focus in Western Australia…
Emerging from the global pandemic, The Crawford Fund’s West Australian committee was keen to harness local expertise and energy to explore new directions and opportunities for future focus explained Dr Mark Sweetingham, the Committee Chair in launching their event on 14 March.
“We heard about the expertise that WA has to offer, the impacts of WA led projects in developing countries, the benefits of engaging the NextGen in overseas work, and partnership opportunities for West Australian researchers, students and organisations. We were particularly keen to get input in a brainstorming session to identify new ideas and help shape future priorities and key directions for us in WA after COVID-19,” said Dr Sweetingham.
“Key ideas to emerge from the event included, identifying opportunities to co-support early-mid career scientists originally from developing countries in overseas projects; defining the focus on the Indian Ocean Rim (including Africa) as the area the WA community should make their strongest contribution; and a view that private sector involvement (including WA farmers) in projects and activities should be strongly encouraged and explored,” he concluded and explained in interviews after the event.
The program included Tony York, Member, Australia’s Commission for International Agricultural Research and Farmer; Dr Ben Biddulph, Chief Scientist, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development; Alannah MacTiernan, Former Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food; and Em Prof Lyn Abbott, Coordinator, WA Crawford Fund and leader in soil health.
Kicking it all off in the ACT…
Kicking off the national tour of Doing Well by Doing Good, The Crawford Fund’s ACT Committee hosted a Doing Well by Doing Good session at the recent ABARES Outlook Conference. Titled, Supporting the future of regional agriculture, the Crawford Fund session explained international agriculture for development in the context of challenges including climate change, COVID and conflict, and highlighted the findings of international analyses and of our own two commissioned Crawford Fund’s Doing Well by Doing Good reports – real and lasting social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts, as well as capacity building and science diplomacy.
The overview speaker was Dr Wendy Umberger, Chair, ACIAR Policy Advisory Council and member of the Crawford Fund SA Committee, former President of AARES. She was followed by three speakers presenting on lasting impacts around significant issues in Australian and regional agriculture including Dr Sally Norton, National Leader, Australian Grains Genebank who talked about Germplasm Conservation, Exchange and Use; Dr Helen Scott-Orr, Crawford Fund NSW Coordinator and inaugural Inspector-General of Biosecurity who focused on Biosecurity; and Dr Leigh Vial, Board Member, Sunrice Australia, ACIAR Project Leader and farmer who presented about Private Sector Involvement.
All speakers were part of a Q&A session as well as a panel discussion to focus on ‘outlook’ for future regional agriculture chaired by the new coordinator of the ACT Committee, Dave Shearer.
There is more to come!
Follow these links if you would like to attend our events in Tasmania on 31 March, Queensland on 20 April (please register at this sight with registration options at the bottom of the page), or Victoria on 02 May! And plans are afoot for an NT event on 06 June.