Read all about it! 2023 here we come…

February 6, 2023

Photo from Minister Murray Watt’s tweet “Aussie Ag is a vital contributor to meeting the food security needs of our region. A pleasure to join former Ag Ministers John Anderson & @Fitzhunter at the @Crawfordfund conference. Congrats to the fund on your work in support of international Ag research and development”.

It’s full steam ahead for travel around our training, student awards, mentoring and journalist visits overseas in 2023 and, at home, our busy year will be peppered with events heralding our Doing Well by Doing Good Campaign, so keep your eyes on the news!  In the meantime, we are reflecting on the year that was 2022, and a few highlights of what we achieved in both traditional and social media coverage to raise awareness of food and nutrition security issues, our work and that of our partners.

With travel bans still in place early in 2022, and then a few months of travel hesitation and limited flight availability, we were well and truly poised to launch into action in the second half of the year. Some highlights follow:

With a focus on the Fund’s 35th anniversary and ACIAR’s 40th, we looked at the benefits, impact and future challenges in the quest for improving food and nutrition security at our annual conference “Celebrating Agriculture for Development – Outcomes, Impacts and the Way Ahead,”  in the Great Hall, Parliament House Canberra in August – the highlight of our year. Ten of our conference speakers were involved in media outreach activities, with some doing as many as six interviews. National and regional print and radio journalists interviewed a variety of speakers and a sample of coverage includes rural weekly papers, ABC Radio National, The Wire, and SciDevNet. A more detailed report of the traditional and social media coverage for the event is available here.

We then finished the year with a bang! Calling for an increase in the proportion of the aid budget invested in agricultural research, we launched two new Crawford Fund reports at the National Press Club. The message delivered by two former Ministers for Agriculture, The Hon John Anderson and The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon was well received by the media and was also spread through personal briefings with key federal politicians. Coverage was achieved across the Australian Community Media Network, Grain Central, The Wire, ABC Country Hour, and National Commercial Rural News. And our social media campaign, with a focus on the reports, fact sheets and testimonial videos are providing additional attention.

As our student awardees, mentors and trainers started to get out into the region, we commenced an Instagram campaign to highlight them all in-country and in the field. First off the rank was Nicola McGunnigle, a PhD Student from the University of Adelaide, who kept us connected with her June trip in Nepal, which we then highlighted in this blog. We’ve since had posts from Fiji (Jemma Restall, UQ; Amy Bates, CSU; Nick Metherall, ANU;), Malaysia (Clara Obregon, Murdoch Uni), Laos (Chitpasong Kousonsavath, Adelaide Uni; Nikki Duncan, CSU), Thailand (Phoebe Arbon, JCU), Vietnam (mentors Chris Harwood and Rod Griffin), Zimbabwe (Michael Wellington and Xolili, ANU) and Assam, India (Bimal Sharma, Canberra Uni), and a variety from around Australia too.

Other highlights of another pandemic impacted year include:

  • Coverage of our 2022 student awardees Madeleine Grist investigating the climate challenges of seaweed farmers in Indonesia, Jemma Restall who will look to the Pacific Islands  for her research to validate a method for screening Taro for drought tolerance; and Nikita Cally, who will be conducting research in Ethiopia, focused on the fungal disease net form of net blotch in barley.
  • Recognition of our 2022 Derek Tribe Award recipient Dr Lisa-Maria Rebelo on The Wire and National Rural Commercial News. Lisa-Maria received the award in recognition of her work across the African continent, and in South and Southeast Asia, in water productivity, remote sensing, natural resource management, wetland monitoring and assessment, basin water accounting and water productivity.

We awarded two Food Security Journalism Awards in 2022. Brett Worthington, federal political correspondent with ABC News Digital received the award for his article  The perfect storm: Ukraine, Fertiliser and Fuel, Climate Change in August, and Tom Major, a journalist with ABC News, Analysis and Investigations won the award in May for his article “Can golden rice prove agricultural science has a role in ending malnutrition?”

The prize for this Award is a ‘seeing is believing’ working visit to a developing country. We look forward to reporting on the award visits and the media coverage generated, expected later this year.

Our annual social media report shows growth across all our platforms in new followers, engagement, and reach. Our social media channels (FacebookLinkedInTwitter and Instagram) for the 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2022 period, had a total reach of 846,602 people, 16,595 engagements (likes, shares and comments), and a total of 14,865 followers across all channels. A more detailed report for 2022 is available here.

We are already preparing for bigger and better impact in 2023 – spreading good news stories about agriculture for development and sharing our impact in training, mentoring, NextGen and outreach activities with you.

You can stay in touch with us via our social media channels (listed above) and our newsletter.