University of Western Australia: New Centre for Agricultural Economics and Development to launch at UWA

A new Centre for Agricultural Economics and Development that will provide economic research and policy advice related to agriculture, agri-environmental management, agribusiness and food systems will be formally opened at The University of Western Australia this Friday.

Centre Director Associate Professor Marit Kragt, an agricultural and resource economist, said the research team would work closely with experts in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment and the UWA institute of Agriculture to address some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture around the world.

“The centre will be one of the largest of its kind in Australia, with a distinct focus on research that is grounded in real world on-farm applications,” Associate Professor Kragt said.

“Our aim is to deliver independent, evidence-based information to enhance decision making and the social, economic and environmental sustainability and resilience of farming systems and food supply chain participants, in developed and developing countries.

“Our capabilities in data collection, socio-economic and policy analysis and interpretation will be used to provide insights into issues as diverse as poverty and food security, sustainable farming systems, food product development and the adoption of new technologies.

“Other focus areas include market analysis for agricultural commodities, non-market impacts and externalities, adoption of innovations, and risk analysis and evaluation of business performance at the farm level and across value chains.”

The Centre’s deputy directors are Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen, an agricultural and development economist who leads international research collaborations, and Dr Fiona Dempster, a Research Fellow and grains-livestock farmer with particular interest in farmer adoption of new technologies and climate change mitigation practices, who leads industry collaboration and engagements.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with partner organisations from across the supply chain, from the smaller family-run farms to corporate farming and agricultural suppliers, and of course the R&D funders,” Dr Dempster said.

The centre will be staffed by 15 academics, as well as Masters and PhD students in Agricultural Economics and International Development. The Advisory Committee comprises distinguished experts including farmers, internationally renowned researchers, and leading industry and Government advisors.