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Sacha Amaruzaman at ISAP 2018

Blog post prepared by Sacha Amaruzaman

Sacha Amaruzaman, a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR), shared his work in a session on “Sustainable production landscapes and seascapes for biodiversity, human livelihoods and well-being” during the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP 2018) in Yokohama, Japan.

In the session, Sacha presented his collective work in promoting co-investment in environmental stewardship with the smallholders, local government, and the private sector in Indonesia.

This initiative was implemented under an action-research called the Smart Tree-Invest of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in which he was involved as a project and research officer.

Through the co-investment, defined as the involvement and collaboration between actors to maintain and improve the landscapes, the Smart Tree-Invest promoted the utilisation of agroforestry and the capacity building of actors to enable them to co-invest in their watershed and coastal landscapes.

Agroforestry, or tree-based farming system, is promoted in the co-investment scheme because of its multiple benefits, which covers the provision of sustainable livelihood for farmers as well as the enhancement of various ecosystem services provided from the agricultural landscape

The case study that Sacha presented shows the potential of the co-investment to reduce farmers’ vulnerability as well as improving the carbon stock and hydrological services provided from the watershed where he worked.

Sacha’s thesis with  GFAR on developing the sound agricultural and environmental policy in the upland area of Indonesia and is built on his previous work, in which he aims to provide  recommendations to improve the landscape and livelihood of farmers.

His thesis is a part of IndoGreen project, an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded research project led by GFAR that focuses on several upland areas in Java and Sumatra Islands of Indonesia.

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GFAR researcher Prof. Mike Young is a Research Chair in Environmental and Water Policy at the University of Adelaide. As a result of an Australian Government endowment, each year Harvard University appoints one person to the Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University . In recognition of his contribution to the development of water policy in Australia, Prof. Young was appointed to this Chair at Harvard University for the 2013/14 academic year. While at Harvard, he taught a course on transformational environmental policy reform and began working on an earth scan book on this topic.

Prof. Mike Young and Christine Esau have edited the book titled ‘Transformational Change in Environmental and Natural Resource Management – Guidelines for policy excellence’, which was released in 2017. The aim of this book is to catalyse global interest in the pursuit of transformational changes in natural resource and environmental management. Transformational reforms typically involve a decision to change a suite of institutional arrangements that will result, within a short period, in a paradigm shift and the emergence of an approach that will be recognised as being totally different to the arrangements that were previously in place. Transformational change is well established in business and can deliver outstanding results. In the world of policy development, however, many transformational policy reforms flounder. Unlike incremental policy reforms, they are often seen to be politically risky and prone to failure.

Using examples of success and failure, coupled with insights from practitioners and academics who have succeeded in getting transformational reforms implemented, this book presents a set of guidelines for excellence in the pursuit of transformational policy reforms. It includes detailed case studies from Australia, China, Europe, New Zealand, South-east Asia and the USA.

Mr. John Leake from the Institute for International Development (IID) – Consulting has recently reviewed the book for the Australian Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics (AJARE). Mr. Leake says, “The book succeeds where it discusses the tools used to gain the support of stakeholders, such as the uses, abuses and cost of participation, and the importance of evaluation with stakeholders as an iterative learning process. The book is a success: Young and Esau have produced a very valuable primer for policy makers and stakeholders at different levels. The book is well illustrated with diagrams and tables and benefited from the reflection possible while editing the work at the Rockefeller funded Bellagio Centre in Italy”.

The book is available for purchase at

To read more about Prof. Mike Young’s research visit

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Dr. Alec Zuo, Prof. Wendy Umberger, Mr. David Ironside, and Prof. Sarah Wheeler

The Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) researchers Dr. Alec Zuo, Prof. Wendy Umberger, Prof. Sarah Wheeler and Dr. David Adamson met with Mr. David Ironside, Assistant Secretary, Plant Export Operations, Biosecurity Plant Division, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) to discuss a new project titled ‘Understanding parallel trade of Australian products to China’ under the Agricultural Trade and Market Cooperation (ATMAC) program funded by the DAWR.

Steady growth of the Chinese economy and a corresponding increase in disposable income per capita have led to a rapidly expanding middle class in China. This expanding middle class are able and willing to pay a premium for food of high nutrient and from a clean and sustainable natural environment, which creates great opportunities for Australian fresh food producers. At present, Australian fresh produce is sent to the Chinese market via a number of channels: official trade, personal buying agents (daigou), e-commerce, etc. While the official trade channel is well regulated, fresh produce sent through other channels may not be subject to the same requirements imposed by the Australian and Chinese governments, such as phytosanitary measures.

The project looks at alternative export pathways to the Chinese market for Australian fresh produce. In particular the profile of Chinese buyers of Australian products will be created for the first time using a unique large industry dataset, in terms of geographic location, age and gender. In-depth interviews with personal buying agents and questionnaires for Chinese consumers will also be administered in order to understand the current situation of perishable produce shipped from Australia to China through the personal network; and explore the challenges, including regulatory issues to sell perishable Australian produce to China through alternative channels.

While Australia’s exports of fresh food, for example beef, mango and cherry, to China have been increasing considerably in recent years and trade through alternative channels is on the rise, it is critical to understand Chinese consumers’ awareness and acceptance of the alternative channels and the implications for Australian producers.

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The Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) led project on accelerated adoption of Happy Seeder in Indian Gangetic Plains funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has entered its final activity stage. Dr. Adam Loch and Dr. Jay Cummins recently visited Bangladesh and India to conduct three stakeholder engagement workshops at Rangpur […]

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Growth and development of the Australian Agribusiness sector is integral to the economic sustainability of South Australia. Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR)  has been at the forefront of discussion around creating efficient education pathways for Australian and international students interested in Agribusiness.  Our educational programs in this area have been created through consultation […]

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With GFAR alumni spread across more than twenty countries, we hear some incredible stories and achievements from our graduates who have done some amazing work in agribusiness and international development. Reyza Ramadhan from Indonesia graduated from the Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business (MGFAB) in 2016 and is currently the Program officer and National […]

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Research Associate, Nikki Dumbrell will be commencing her PhD at GFAR in late June. On 5 April, Nikki was announced as the inaugural winner of the Thomas Foods International/Playford Trust PhD Scholarship. Nikki was in Vietnam for the ACIAR-funded project “Towards more profitable and sustainable vegetable farming systems in north western Vietnam” on the awards […]

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The GFAR -led Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) – funded project “Towards more profitable and sustainable vegetable farming systems in north-western Vietnam” is drawing to an end in 2018. In April the project team presented progress and research findings to ACIAR and three independent reviewers at the end of a project review workshop. […]

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Today is World Environment Day. Preventing environmental degradation is critical to sustain agricultural production systems, curtail pollution and improving human health. In the past few blog posts, we have mentioned the issue of stubble burning in North West India and the harmful impact on the environment, which in turn affects soil and human health. A […]

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In 2011, 4 Corners released ‘A bloody business’ highlighting beef animal welfare in the live-trade industry.  The story basically shut down the beef live-trade industry in northern Australia for about 6 months.  In 2018, the beef industry was seeking over $600 million in compensation by the forced shutdown.The lack of market resilience (i.e. markets can […]

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