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Agricultural value chains and food systems

We provide applied research across the whole value chain, from farms to consumers.  We help agribusiness to:

  • diversify by developing premium export products or new markets;
  • obtain greater value from food production; and
  • manage distribution systems that ensure consistent quality.

Supporting growth in export value chains requires a range of skills and resources.  We work with small and medium business, multinationals, government agencies and industry groups to build export expertise.  The team provides research expertise and advice in business diversification, investment, economics, law, food distribution, marketing and consumers.

We apply systems thinking tools to understand complexity, interactions and emergent events.  Our research spans the value chain but is always focussed on identifying and responding to our research partners' problems.  The team is a multi-cultural and inter-disciplinary with expertise in Australian and Asian agri-business and food distribution.  This enables us to assess critical infrastructure and products across rural and global supply chains.

Research Themes

  1. EXPORT STRATEGY AND BUSINESS DIVERSIFICATION
    Exporting is risky and a high number of businesses fail. By identifying critical issues and safe pathways to create and grow premium agricultural exports, we reduce risk. We work with businesses to analyse the current state, create a vision of the future and develop an export expertise and growth strategy. The export strategy for agribusiness can include finance, legal requirements, partnerships and collaborations, skills, products, distribution, quality assurance, markets and customers.
  2. INDUSTRY STRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
    Connecting rural areas to global value chains creates new growth opportunities.  Working across industry, business and governments we identify how to create successful export industries and value adding communities. We develop strategies that take advantage of the strengths of interrelated food businesses and resources. This includes capital investment, infrastructure and collaborative models that help businesses grow and leverage their expertise.  
  3. GENDER SENSITIVE CAPACITY BUILDING
    Communities that value add generate more revenue, create more skilled employment and better support local services and retail sectors. Value adding has the capacity to empower individuals and social entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses. Our researchers examine and support entrepreneurial activity in developing countries. This includes working with aspiring and practicing women entrepreneurs who are keen to scale-up from micro to small and medium enterprises.
  4. VALUE ADDING AND FOOD DISTRIBUTION
    Understanding and managing gross margins and maintaining quality control starts from the moment the commodity is transformed to a premium product. Our researchers help developing and established economies to understand the role of critical infrastructure in food distribution. Walking the supply chain they identify when, where and how quality control and value adding
    occurs from primary producers to end consumers. This helps businesses to understand where in their distribution channels, particularly cold chain logistics their products are most at risk. We work with businesses to establish reliable distribution systems that maintain quality, minimise potential for disruption and limit waste.
  5. BRAND PROTECTION, DOCUMENTATION AND CONTRACTS
    Brand protection is essential. Businesses need to be prepared to respond to threats such as counterfeiting and product adulteration. Export trade requires businesses to work in a complex multinational system of law, regulation and trade customs. The team helps businesses to streamline international trade documentation and get products into market without unwelcome surprises.
  6. RETAIL AND CONSUMERS
    Consumers determine the ultimate success of the product. We provide market intelligence and access consumer requirements and purchasing behaviour.  Our social research and networks provide feedback and connections between agribusiness and consumers. This assists our research partners in making informed business decisions.