Our GFS researcher Dr Wahida recently attended the 2015 Crawford Fund’s Annual Parliamentary Conference held between 10 and 12 August 2015. Here is her insights into this exciting and highly anticipated event.
The 2015 Crawford Fund’s Annual Parliamentary Conference focused on the importance of collaboration and partnership between the public and private sectors to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification and improved food security. Dr Cary Fowler, biodiversity conservationist and former executive director of Global Crop Diversity Trust delivered the Sir John Crawford memorial address at the networking dinner on 10 August 2015.
The role of private sector was selected as the focus of this year’s conference because the Crawford Fund believes that meeting future food demand using limited earth’s natural resources puts significant challenges for improved roles for both the public and private sectors. Technology innovation underpinned by targeted research investment has assisted us achieve sustainable intensification of agricultural production. Yet, we continue to face pressure to find innovative solutions to issues in agriculture. The conference highlighted new directions of research and sustainable sourcing that has already been undertaken by the private sectors, and discussed the implications of public policy and a new generation of public-private partnership.
The Executive Chairmen of Visy Industries, PT Syngenta Indonesia, Elanco Asia, Bayer Crop Science explored their contribution to food security. Visy contributes to food security by supporting its food and beverage customers in reducing food waste through more efficient food processing and better packaging as well investing in sustainable infrastructure in recycling facilities. While Syngenta Indonesia has developed a Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) as a partnership between the Government of Indonesia and over 30 partners from international and local companies, international agencies, civil society and farmer organization. The partnership seeks to provide an innovative, multi-stakeholder model for addressing the Indonesian agricultural challenges. The head of new business development at the Bayer Head Office mentioned with operations in more than 120 countries, and more than $ 1 billion plus annual R&D expenditure, Bayer CropScience offers a wide variety of innovative chemical and biological crop protection products and advanced seeds and traits. Similar to Visy, Elanco has developed innovations on animal welfare, nutrition and genetics in dairy industry. The company aims to raise the average annual increase in global daily milk yield from 13.5 to 24 litres per cow. These potential involves a combination of commercial opportunity, corporate responsibility and responsiveness to post-farm gate consumer dynamics.
Remarkable speakers representing multiple international agencies highlighted the importance of partnerships, collaborations, multi-stakeholder model and leaderships to achieve sustainable intensification and improve food security.
H.E. Gerda Verburg, Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the World Economic Forum Council on Food Security and Nutrition in her keynote address highlighted that nowadays we are set to agree on the Sustainable Development Goals, and exploring how we can intensify our existing collaboration and expand the opportunities to build on each other’s strengths is necessary. The only way to build consensus and create food systems where sustainability and profitability are inextricability linked is to not shy away from addressing contentious issues like the role of genetic engineering, the role of smallholders in intensification, optimizing land use and the ability to combine traditional knowledge with innovation and technology.
Dr. Martin Kropff, Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) confirmed that investment in R & D may be low in the international public sector compared to the private sector. However, the effectiveness and the return on public sector investment is high, especially in developing countries. Agricultural research will remain in academic domain unless it is informed by real problems on the farm.Efforts, however, must be made to deliver solutions through private-public collaborations to ‘real users’, namely farmers of the world.
Dr. Marco Ferroni, Executive Director of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) highlighted similar concerns. SFSA’s focus is on incubating new products and services, then disseminating through commercial channels. Lastly, Olam International, World Wild Fund and Grow Asia partnership were closing the conference by discussing the impact of partnership initiatives to improve smallholders’ welfare.
Conference Breakfast on the 12 August 2015 was closing the event by highlighting the conclusions from the conference. Partnership, collaboration and leadership are the three key words that became the focus of the discussion in 2015 Crawford Fund Annual Conference.
*This article was written by Dr Wahida and is subject to her personal interpretation about the conference content.
Visit our posts from the 2014 Crawford Fund’s Conference: here