On Monday 3 November 2014, we had a successful full-day final presentation workshop presenting 20 final semester students!
The final presentation was part of our 12 unit compulsory research project . The range of topics that our students presented from land grab in Africa, beef and lamb value chains in Southeast Asia, adoption of technology in Iran, developing mango industry in Pakistan, smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Vietnam, food safety in China, trade policy and agreements in Africa, setting up agribusiness companies in Africa, food procurement systems in Indonesia, coffee value chains in Vietnam, the role of rice millers in Cambodia, to market analysis of Australian kangaroo, almond and organic food sectors, demonstrates the flexibility of our program to customise the students’ study plan to their individual background and career objectives.
Despite their differing topics, there seemed to be some concensus among students in regard to challenges and opportunities facing global food and agricultural markets. First, smallholder farmers in various sectors across the globe face similar challenges: limited access to input, credits, technical assistance and market information and low innovation adoption rates. Second, therefore, there is a need to develop smallholder-inclusive agricultural development strategies. The question is how we can develop such strategies. The students offered their perspectives about how inclusive growth should be achieved. Their suggestions varied from improving the role of women, exploring upgrading opportunities (for example by allowing farmers to better access processing facilities to value add their products), improving smallholders’ productivity through increased adoption of innovations, improving smallholders’ market access and value chain efficiency to public-private partnerships.
The 12 unit research project provides the students opportunities for learning new research and professional skills and applying a wide range of knowledge and theories that they have gained from our courses into the real-world cases.
For many students, the project is an excellent way to further research agribusiness issues in their home countries.
Big congratulations to you all!