Earlier this month, a large cohort of GFAR staff and students descended upon the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre to participate in the 61st annual AARES conference, held 7-10th February. The three conference days provided an array of thought provoking presentations, social events and networking opportunities.
The first day saw GFAR Executive Director, Prof. Wendy Umberger, present her Presidential Address, titled, ‘Seeing with new eyes: Insights into understanding food values’. The take-home message was that gaining a more comprehensive understanding consumer food values and behaviour, requires greater engagement in transdisciplinary research (and thus, ‘seeing with new eyes’).
GFAR staff and students presented their research over the remaining two days, with a brief overview provided below.
GFAR research was showcased in the ‘Food Security’ session, where PhD students Ms. Jesmin Rupa and Mr. Christian Genova II presented their work. While Jesmin presented her research on “Analysing the association between rural farm household health and economic shocks and food security in Bangladesh”, Christian presented his research on “Linking smallholder vegetable production to children’s diet: Evidence from rural Vietnam”. Christian also participated and was strong contender in the 3-minute thesis competition, which was a new addition to the AARES conference in 2017.
GFAR was also well-represented in one of the ‘Valuation’ sessions, where Dr. Daniel Gregg presented a paper titled: “Inferred valuation: whose inference over what?” authored by him and A/Prof. Sarah Wheeler. The paper received some good feedback with strong interest in partnerships expressed by internationally renowned researchers in the area of non-market valuation. PhD student, Mr. Tien Dung Khong, also presented his research on “Farm-household preferences for reducing salinity intrusion risk: A case in the Mekong River Delta” co-authored with Prof. Mike Young and Dr. Adam Loch.
In the well-attended ‘Food, health and nutrition’ session, Prof. Wendy Umberger presented a paper titled, ‘Understanding drivers of increasing vegetarianism in Australia’, co-authored with GFAR postdoctoral researcher Dr. Lenka Malek and Prof. Ellen Goddard from the University of Alberta. Dr. Lenka Malek also presented a paper in this session, titled, ‘Segmentation of Australian meat consumers based on attitudes regarding farm animal welfare and the environmental impact of meat production’, co-authored with Prof. Wendy Umberger and Prof. John Rolfe from Central Queensland University.
In addition to A/Prof. Sarah Wheeler being an invited discussant in the Urban Water Symposium, the final day ‘Water’ session also had a strong GFAR presence. Dr. Adam Loch presented his work on ‘Private water trade transaction costs in the Murray Darling Basin: an empirical assessment over time’; Ms. Juliane Haensch presented her PhD research on “The spatial distribution and determinants of price preferences for water entitlement trading”, co-authored with Dr. Sarah Wheeler and Dr Alec Zuo; and Ms. Sara Palomo-Hierro, a PhD student who is visiting GFAR from Spain, presented her research titled, ‘Improving water governance: Lesson-drawing from water market comparisons in Spain and Australia’.
Ms. Apri Laila Sayekti presented her PhD research on “Labour demand in labour-intensive farming: Chilli production in Indonesia”, in the ‘Development’ session. In the ‘Value Chain Analysis’ session, GFAR research assistant, Mr. Rohan Yargop, presented his research on identifying the critical drivers, growth constraints and success factors of the South Australian food and agriculture industry. The insights gained from this work will inform the development of a strategic framework for growing the value of the South Australian food and agriculture industry through collaboration and co-innovation.
Lastly, Dr. Di Zeng chaired the ‘Farming Systems’ session in which he presented his paper, ‘One size fits all? Evidence from contract farming among Chinese broiler producers’. PhD student, Ms. Rio Maligalig, also presented her research in this session, titled, ‘Farmer preferences for investments in varietal trait improvements: The case of rice farmers in Nueva Ecija, Philippines’, which was co-authored with Dr Matty Demont of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Prof. Wendy Umberger.
The 2018 AARES conference is set to be another great event- this time held in Adelaide, South Australia!