Foreword to our Quick Year In Review – 2022-2023, From Our Chair and CEO

November 29, 2023

It is a pleasure for us to report on a year in which we were able to fund and complete a wide range of  activities after the disruptions of the Covid 19 pandemic. These included a full suite of state and territory funded scholarship and study grants, mentors and mentees resuming face to face contact in the field, a range of Nextgen and RAID Network activities including the planning and running of a hybrid volunteering experience in partnership with The Australian Volunteers Program (AVP) and Vietnam National University of Agriculture, in Vietnam, as well as the successful completion of several major networking events throughout the year.  Feedback from all concerned was that whilst the web did allow us to keep in touch during the Covid 19 pandemic, nothing beats the mutual learning opportunities of personal contact! Looking back through the lists of young Australians given training opportunities by the fund’s state and territory committees, it is gratifying to find many individuals who are now filling senior roles at universities and in industry.

2022-23 was a big year for the Crawford Fund given the launch of our campaign around “Doing Well by Doing Good.” This was based on two significant reports that we commissioned focusing on firstly, the economic benefits to Australia from investment in agricultural international research and development funding and secondly, on the equally important, but non-monetary benefits arising from investment in training programs and R&D across areas including sustainability, biosecurity, climate resilience, water management and similar issues. The key results presented in the is campaign and the references to the two reports are given subsequently in this report. The campaign kicked off federally in late 2022 and included our Chair, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon and CEO presenting the benefits to senior Ministers and politicians and was followed up by meetings in all state and territory capitals with the exception of NSW (planned for November 2023). We believe that some of the increases to agricultural R&D in the Federal budget were directly attributable to these concerted efforts.

In August 2022, we ran another very successful annual conference at Parliament House, “Celebrating Agriculture for Development – Outcomes, Impacts and the Way Ahead.” This conference was designed to celebrate The Crawford Fund’s 35 years of outcomes and impacts, as well as ACIAR’s 40th anniversary.  These milestones provided 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.

Early June 2023 saw the Crawford Fund and the RAID Network run The Pacific Dialogue in Nadi, Fiji with much appreciated financial support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and assistance from ACIAR, the South Pacific Community and APARRI. This Dialogue brought together approximately 25 early to mid-career Pacific nationals (including Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste) with counterparts from Australia.  Focus was on the impacts of climate change on regional agricultural systems and their mitigation.  Led by our CEO and Prof. Shaun Coffey, participants were addressed by a range of regional keynote speakers and then encouraged to work together to define common ground, solutions and capacity building needs.  The dynamic in the meeting was outstanding and we are hoping that it has laid the groundwork for further work with our Pacific neighbours across a range of areas relevant to sustainable agriculture, food security, nutrition and trade.

We were also very pleased to announce that The Hon Margaret Reid AO accepted an invitation from the Crawford Fund Board to be appointed as a Patron of the Fund, on her retirement from the Board in August 2022.   Margaret joined the Crawford Fund Board in 2011 and had chaired its ACT committee since then through to her retirement in August 2022. Perhaps best known as the first female President of the Australian Senate, Margaret has had extensive experience with Australian non-government organisations, working in international development as the former President of the Executive Committee of the Australian Council for International Development and as a member of the panel of the 2011 Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness.

Margaret’s role on the board has been filled by Ms Wendy Craik. Dr Tony Fischer who led the ACT committee of the Fund also stepped down from the coordinator role in 2022 after over 15 years dedicated service.  He has been ably replaced by Dave Shearer.

We were also delighted to welcome the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, past Minister of Defence and Agriculture as a member of the Board from August 2022.

Sadly, we lost several dear friends during the year in review, including Mike Taylor AO (past Federal Secretary of the Departments Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, and of Transport and Regional Services) who served on the Board for many years, and past Chairs John Kerrin (past Federal Minister of Primary Industry and Treasurer) and Jim Ingram (diplomat, inaugural patron of the Fund and past Head of the World Food Program). We extend our sincere condolences to their families and loved ones.

Finally, we would like to thank all the supporters of the Crawford Fund including federally ACIAR DFAT and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, our state and territory government sponsors, and private sector benefactors, whose assistance makes so much possible. Last, but not least we want to recognise the input of our board and state and territory committee members who work pro bono to ensure that we are doing well by doing good.

Read our Quick Year In Review.

The Hon John Anderson

Chair, Crawford Fund

Dr Colin Chartres

CEO, Crawford Fund