Paper 100 - 2014

A Case Study of Drought Management

Thomas White

The objective of this study is to evaluate the impacts of drought on a stud cattle operation owned and operated by Steven and Cindy Scott, ‘Glen Elgin’ Henty NSW. The management ‘Glen Elgin’ over the drought years 2006 – 2010 will be investigated. This investigation will include a detailed investigation of the aims and aspirations of the owners and how these have impacted on the development of the drought strategy that has operated in the past, and will operate during the next dry period.  A key component of most, if not all drought strategies, is the desire to maintain ‘ground cover’. Various options of managing livestock prior, during and post drought will be canvassed with implications for cash flow, feed requirements and recovery to full production discussed.  A conclusion will be drawn that determines the appropriateness or otherwise of the current drought strategy that applies on ‘Glen Elgin’.


Paper 99 - 2014

Future prospects for sweetpotato processing in Papua New Guinea

Hui-Shung (Christie) Chang

Food processing using local materials has the potential to create employment and income-generating opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural communities. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), the food manufacturing sector is small, and is dominated by a small number of foreign companies using primarily imported ingredients. To address these issues, the “Development of a food processing and preservation industry” was identified by the PNG government as one of the priority programs for agricultural development in the National Agricultural Development Plan. The objective of this study was to assess the challenges and opportunities for developing a locally owned food processing sector in PNG using sweetpotato as a test case. The research involved an extensive literature review of sweetpotato processing research and development activities in PNG, as well as in China and Africa where such research and development activities have been the most extensive. Results showed that, given the current environment, promoting sweetpotato processing into commercially viable enterprises will be challenging. However, if the PNG government is determined to develop a food processing industry, sweetpotato processing can be used as a pilot both to build research and development capacity for food processing and to investigate whether and how an efficient food processing industry can be developed.

Paper 98 - 2014

Assessing the socioeconomic impact of a rural market: The case of Mt Hagen Market in the Papua New Guinea Highlands

Hui-Shung (Christie) Chang, Ben Mullen, Jessie Anjen and Lilly Be’Soer

This study of the Mt Hagen Market was undertaken to assess the socioeconomic impact of the Mt Hagen Market Redevelopment Project that was supported by the Australia-PNG Incentive Fund. Since its completion in late 2006, the Mt Hagen Market has produced significant and positive economic and social outcomes. Impact has extended well beyond Mt Hagen and Western Highlands Province to neighbouring Highlands provinces and coastal areas. The Market provides thousands of people with income-generating opportunities in vegetable and handicraft production and marketing. The majority of these beneficiaries are women, many of whom have become the primary providers for their families and key contributors to their communities. Their social status has improved accordingly and the women reported a sense of empowerment. Despite these highly positive impacts, a lack of support services for market traders and of higher-level aspirations and prospects for young women and street youths was noted. This appeared to be linked to a lack of education and training opportunities. In addition, there are serious issues of over-crowding, law and order breakdown, sales of prohibited store goods, illegal collection and misuse of market fees, and deterioration of market facilities and market services in recent years. The last is mainly as a result of a combination of an increased demand for these services because of the PNG mining boom and of mismanagement. Our main recommendations for improving the Market’s performance include: separation of fresh produce from livestock and general store goods; separation of retail and wholesale markets for fresh produce; public awareness and enforcement of market rules and regulation; training of market operators in business skills and postharvest management; and on-going monitoring and assessment of market management by independent third parties.

Paper 98 a - 2014

Australian farm investment: domestic and overseas issues

John Williams, Peter McSweeney and Robert Salmon

Farm investment is required for productivity, efficiency and profitability, but the need-impact relationships are quite complex because of the uncertainties of weather, biological product, and markets. Problems arise because of investment and economic cycles, and are compounded by uncertainties over government fiscal and investment policy. This paper reviews Australian farm investment characteristics, risk, and government policy, with the findings suggesting that the majority of this investment is likely to flow towards the top 25 percent of farms, many of which are irrigated. Foreign investment while not easily quantifiable can support dry-land farm values and may be motivated by diversification, food security and supply chain benefits which are not always profit-related. Risk: return portfolio diversification theories can be very deficient in practical farm investment decision making.