Women leading and influencing

Philmah and Liz

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Philmah Waken

Papua New Guinea
Master of Agricultural Science
University of Queensland, QLD

 is studying a Masters of Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland. She has worked as the leading implementing scientist of agronomy trials on a number of projects within the National Agricultural Research Institute in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In these roles, she has been responsible for promoting traditional vegetable production and consumption for improved livelihoods in PNG and northern Australia; increasing vegetable production in PNG's Central Province for Port Moresby markets; examining women's business acumen in PNG and working with women smallholders in horticulture; as well as leading a European Union (EU) trial that examined enhanced food security through preservation and improvement of genetic diversity of aibika and sweet potato in PNG and Solomon Islands.

She also worked on an EU trial, "Generation and adaptation of improved agricultural technologies to mitigate climate-change imposed risks to food production within vulnerable smallholder farming communities in Western Pacific Countries".

Philmah is concerned that the people and government of PNG too easily consider agriculture to be a rural exercise only, and that they do not realise its importance as an enterprise. She would like to work with young people in particular, to highlight the importance of agricultural enterprise and for people to start looking after their own livelihoods and building businesses up around agriculture. In turn, this will encourage government to invest in and bring basic services to the area.


Elizabeth Brennan

Agricultural Entrepreneur, WA

 has facilitated a number of community and agricultural development programs in her Western Australian (WA) Wheat Belt region, as well as across Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). She currently coordinates a multidisciplinary agricultural research program in PNG on behalf of DFAT and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Elizabeth also has led the marketing strategy development and implementation for one of the largest citrus operations in WA, Moora Citrus.

Elizabeth is a commissioner for the Agricultural Produce Commission, chairs the Farmers for Climate Action 'Rural Economic Futures' taskforce and volunteers on many agricultural advisory groups and committees. She also was a board director with Australian Women in Agriculture for five years.

Elizabeth is a Fellow with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and won a Fairfax Agricultural Media scholarship. She has completed a Bachelor's degree in Business and is currently studying a Master's of Sustainable Systems. In 2014, Elizabeth was awarded the Most Outstanding Emerging Leader Award at the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness 100, and in 2016, she was awarded WA Young Achiever of the Year for her voluntary and community contributions.