We have just passed Week 6 of Semester 1! Time flies so fast.
Whilst most students are enjoying their two week mid semester break, our final year Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business (MGFAB) students are working hard conducting their 12 unit research project. The GFS has been so lucky to receiving outstanding students from across the globe, particularly from Africa, Asia, Pacific and Latin America. This research project has provided them excellent and unique opportunities to not only research some of the most challenging issues in global food markets but also develop their analytical skills helping them ready for their future career advancement. Here are some of the topics and activities of our MGFAB students.
Value chain analysis has definitely been a popular topic amongst our students. Given our extensive experience in value chain analysis especially in Pacific countries and southeast Asian countries, our MGFAB students have opportunities to learn from real-world case studies we deliver in our courses. In this semester, there are at least students working on value chains in various sectors in different countries including the cashew nut sector in Cambodia (Sokleang Kim), almond sector in South Australia (Yumeng Chen), rice sector in Cambodia (Mao Mouk), coffee sector in Vietnam (Thi Tra Nguyen), and lamb industry in South Australia (Muhammad Saad Sadiq).
A whole of chain approach that we adopt in our program and opportunities for students to take courses related to production, marketing and logistics systems have given some confidence to our students to use this project as an opportunity to design a business plan putting their startup business ideas as well as theories they have learnt at GFS into practice. Students such Matongo Munsanje from Zambia and Andrew Wanga from Kenya are exploring strategies to set up an agricultural business in their home countries.
Our courses have also exposed our students to a range of issues in international trade in particular interconnected between domestic industry and global food supply. Pursuing their degree in Australia, some of our students are investigating ways to improve trade flows between their home countries and Australia. For example, Hongyang Dong is looking at market opportunities for Australian organic beef exports to China, whilst Yue Zhang is observing producers and consumers behaviours in Chinese beer market and opportunities for Australian beer exports to China. Zhuang Qin investigate the sheepmeat industry in Australia and ways to better link it to the Chinese market. Also working on trade issues, our student Marcel Moreira Pinto is heading to the WTO head office in Geneva after being awarded a highly competitive internship scholarship. Congrats Marcel!
The role of governments in food markets in developing countries is quite central. Whils in many cases government programs are smallholder inclusive and potentially welfare-enhancing, there are many situations in which the programs’ cost-effectiveness can be improved. Asma Sembiring is evaluating policies in Indonesian horticulture sector, while Yuli Hijrah Saputri is studying food procurement system in Indonesia. Using case studies from Africa, Mulugeta Mekonen Kassaw is investigating how coffee commodity exchange in Ethiopia impacts on smallholder farmers, while Mitchel Dintwa is analysing the pricing of horticulture products when imports are being restricted.
In developing the research project, GFS has been closely working with government and industry partners, here in South Australia as well as in overseas. Our student Abiodun Okunala is working on his research project with some of the best scientists in Australia at CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in Waite Campus on topics related to land use change and GHS emissions in Africa under supervision of Dr Jeff Connor. Meanwhile, our student Thi Chung Trinh is taking part in a project on vegetable farming systems in North West Vietnam led by Dr Suzie Newman and Associate Professor Wendy Umberger.
Given high quality reports that we aim to achieve, MGFAB students are expected to attend a series of practical workshops on topics such as writing research proposal, conducting literature review, using statistical softwares to analyse interview data, etc. Feedback on these activities has been quite positive.
For more information about our MGFAB research project including how your institution may contribute, please contact MGFAB Research Project Coordinator Dr Risti Permani (firstname.lastname@example.org)