GFS contribution to policy discussions on agrifood and development program in Asia

Recently Global Food Studies researchers contributed to two major events in Adelaide this July, namely ICAS9 and the Australia Awards Interactive Workshop.

Five people from our team, Dr Sharmina Ahmed, Dr Jayanthi Thennakoon, Dr Risti Permani, Dr Wahida and Mr Suprehatin, made presentations at the 9th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS9) at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 8 July 2015 at a panel titled “The dynamics of agricultural and food sectors in Asia: Understanding regulatory and non-tariff barriers, demographic and socio-economic drivers and future opportunities”. The panel was chaired by Dr Risti Permani. Ms Aritta Gracia Lily Girsang of the Institute for International Trade also presented her research.

The panel at ICAS9 attempted to comprehensively review changes that have happened in the Asian agriculture and food sectors in the past decades by getting an improved understanding of trade barriers in particular non-tariff barriers to trade in agriculture; demographic and socio-economic drivers to transformations in agricultural and food systems in Asia; and to identify future opportunities to help promote the sustainability of food supplies in the region. Four Asian countries were being selected as case studies, namely Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and China. Topics covered included trade remedy (dumping, subsidy, and safeguards), retail transformations and its implications for food systems in Asian countries, adoption of innovations in agricultural and food sectors, maternal health and nutrition, and climate change.


  1. Ms Aritta Gracia Lily Girsang: Trade Remedy Concept and Practice: ASEAN and agriculture
  2. Dr Risti Permani:Rice Mountain – Assessment of the Thai rice pledging scheme
  3. Dr Sharmina Ahmed: Socio-economic factors affecting maternal health and nutrition in Bangladesh
  4. Dr Wahida: Food systems transformation in Indonesia – Exploring consumers’ demand for certified organic agricultural products
  5. Mr Suprehatin: Patterns and determinants of farmers’ adoption of horticultural crops in Indonesia
  6. Dr Jayanthi Thennakoon: Adaptation to climate change in Guangdong Province in China – Do property rights matter

Left to right: Mr Suprehatin – Dr Sharmina Ahmed – Dr Risti Permani – Dr Wahida – Dr Jayanthi Thennakoon – Ms Aritta Gracia Lily Girsang; at the ICAS9 (Photograph courtesy of Dr Sharmina Ahmed)


On 13 July 2015, Prof Randy Stringer and Dr Risti Permani became panelists at the Australia Award Interactive Workshop at the Adelaide Convention Centre. They talked about business approach to development and innovation using their research experience working in the Pacific and Southeast Asia in particular Indonesia as examples of how partnerships with various stakeholders including local governments, local researchers and the private sector can drive innovations in agriculture. The workshop was organised by Scope Global on behalf of the Australian Government designed for scholars currently on Australia Awards in Adelaide. Prof Stringer and Dr Permani highlighted the importance of inclusiveness, mutual benefits and mutual contribution, the gender context, and efficiency when designing and delivering aid programs. A representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) talked about Australia’s development policy and performance framework. The Australian aid program has a sharper geographic focus. The program is being directed to the Indo-Pacific region, particularly South East Asia, Australia’s immediate neighbourhood. She confirmed that ‘Australian aid is untied’.

Dr Permani suggested that given the growth of developing countries in terms of their political as well economic positions, there is an increasing pressure on Australia to modify its approach from ‘Aid for Trade’ to ‘co-investments’ positioning developing countries as “partners” rather than “aid recipients”.


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