Transforming Lives and Livelihoods – The Digital Revolution in Agriculture

The Crawford Fund 2017 Annual Conference

We are pleased to announce the dates and focus of our 2017 annual conference.

“Transforming Lives and Livelihoods – The Digital Revolution in Agriculture” will investigate the role and impact of the digital revolution in global agriculture and it will be held on 7 and 8 August in Canberra.

The Crawford Fund’s annual conference holds a key place in the development and food security calendar in Australia. For more than two decades we have managed to bring to focus an issue just as is it coming to world and Australian attention. This year will be no exception.

The digital revolution has dramatically impacted our daily life, with change occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. Our annual conference aims to shine a light on this transformational and evolving technology and its realised and potential impacts in a global agricultural context.

We pride ourselves on our choice of topic, setting informative programs around it and attracting the world’s best speakers to address it. We provide extended and highly interactive question and answer sessions, encourage the next generation of researchers, and allow plenty of opportunities for informal networking.

Please join us this year when we will once again have our popular networking dinner and Sir John Crawford Memorial address at the Realm Ballroom, and our one day Parliamentary Conference in Parliament House.

2017 Topic

The 2017 annual conference will ask whether access to and better interpretation of data and information will herald transformational improvement in agricultural productivity and profitability in developing countries, and Australia, comparable in impact to the Green Revolution? Again, we have drawn on world-leading experts and practitioners to help us answer the question.

Analysis of large data sets at global, regional and country level has also seen big developments in fields like genomics, crop modelling and forecasting and biosecurity related issues. 

Whilst many developing countries have shared in this transformation – including through mobile phone use – access to data and information for smallholder farmers in developing countries is relatively patchy, and in some cases non-existent, due to poor data collection, lack of analysis and inadequate methods for dissemination of key information back to farmers and along the supply chain.

Our 2017 conference will show how the collection, collation, analysis and application of digital data can transform global agriculture by enabling:

  • better informed and spatially precise decisions on the application of irrigation, nutrients, herbicides and pesticides;
  • more accurate data about harvests and yields which feeds back into decisions on inputs; and
  • sounder decision making along supply chains from demand driven plant breeding, food processing and delivery of products into markets.

We will then address what the impediments are to this transformation and provide a set of case studies on technologies and work having or offering real impact.

Conference and Dinner Speakers

This year’s Sir John Crawford Memorial Address, on the evening of 7 August, will be delivered by Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, a world leader in agriculture, climate change and nutrition. Dr Sibanda is the Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and a Member of the Policy Advisory Council for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

We are proud to announce some of our other eminent speakers who are part of the Parliamentary Conference on 8 August:

Conference Structure

Our newly appointed Chair, the Hon John Anderson AO, former Deputy Prime Minister, will open the conference, and the program includes:

  • keynotes focused on improving the access and use of data and information to transform smallholder farmers’ lives and impediments to improved use and how they can be overcome
  • targeted overview presentations addressing uses and challenges of big data for agricultural development, ICT adding value for smallholder farmers, and the role of information platforms
  • specialist case studies and innovative examples, showing on-ground impacts supporting each presentation
  • extended Q&A sessions drawing on the extensive expertise of our invited experts to conclude the proceedings.

Conference Scholars Program

Our successful Conference Scholars Program encourages young people in their study or careers in international agricultural research, and it is now considered an exciting part of the conference adding enthusiasm, interest, and fittingly, a heightened digital presence to the proceedings! Scholarships will soon be available to cover travel, accommodation and conference attendance, mentoring, and special activities and engagement before and after the conference.

We hope those attending the conference will also support our efforts so we can grow our early career attendee presence into the future.

Or if you would like to support a nominated young Australian for our conference scholarship experience, please contact Cathy Reade.

Stay Informed

We will launch the conference registration in early June. Our website will be updated as more information is available regarding the program, speakers’ biographies and abstracts and a notice will be distributed as registration opens.

Our conference often sells out. If you are not currently on our database for notices, please sign up to be placed on the list and be notified as soon as registrations open.