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20.04.2016_AUSTRALIAN-FUNDED WORKSHOP ON FACILITATING DEVELOPMENT OF BRUNEI’S AGRICULTURE AND AGRIBUSINESS SECTOR GENERATES INNOVATIVE IDEAS

​Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister for Primary Resources and Tourism, thanked three academics from the University of Western Australia for their efforts leading the Workshop on Facilitating Agribusiness Development in Brunei Darussalam during its closing ceremony on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at the Civil Service Institute. 

Professor Peter Batt, Dr Nazrul Islam, and Dr Amin Mugera of the University of Western Australia's (UWA) Institute of Agriculture have spent the last three days working with government officers and private sector stakeholders to explore the limitations and opportunities which exist within Brunei's agriculture and agribusiness sector.  The UWA team will next meet with senior decision-makers to present the outcomes of the workshop and develop a forward plan for the sector, in direct support of the Brunei Government's economic diversification agenda. 

The Workshop has been funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC).  The Council (AAC) was launched by Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop, in 2015 with the objective of enhancing awareness, understanding and links between people and institutions of Australia and ASEAN, including Brunei Darussalam.  Projects funded by the Council in this, its inaugural year, range from supporting collaborations in the fine arts, facilitating knowledge sharing in disaster relief and financial integration, and programs to support female participation in sport at the elite level.

In addition to a presentation of gifts to the UWA academics by the Minister for Primary Resources and Tourism, the Australian High Commissioner, H.E. Todd Mercer, also delivered brief remarks during the closing ceremony, and the 52 workshop participants received certificates and mementoes from the UWA team.  The ceremony was also attended by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin.

Reflecting on the workshop, Associate Professor Peter Batt said "We have been delighted by the level of interest and enthusiasm shown by both the government officers and participants from the private sector.  The course participants have engaged and asked many questions about how they can best improve the performance of the agriculture sector in Brunei."

 

The University of Western Australia Expert Biographies

Professor Peter J. Batt is passionate about food and the means by which smallholder producers can be integrated into global value chains. With an undergraduate degree in Horticultural Science and postgraduate qualifications in marketing, Peter is in a unique position to offer advice on the production, postharvest and marketing of both fresh and processed agricultural products to institutional users and consumers. Cognisant of the opportunities that marketing offers smallholder producers to escape rural poverty, Peter has led a number of rural development projects funded by the Government of Australia to assist smallholder producers in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

Peter has worked for a number of private and public sector organisations including CTA, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, International Finance Corporation and the University of the South Pacific. With an extensive list of journal publications, book chapters and conference publications, he is a global authority in food and agribusiness marketing, agricultural cooperatives, quality management, buyer-seller relationships and value chains. Peter is currently Chair of the Commission of Economics and Management for the International Society of Horticulture Science and a Board member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association.  Peter is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow within UWA Institute of Agriculture.

Dr Nazrul Islam is an Agricultural and Resource Economist researching on the measurement and analysis of sustainable and efficient agriculture and food production systems. He is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow within UWA Institute of Agriculture.  His primary research focus is on the development and application of appropriate analytical models (such as productivity, value-chain, supply-chain, input-output and general equilibrium modelling) for strategic development planning and decision making.

He has worked in senior positions in a number of government, non-government and academic organisations both in Australia and overseas. He has more than 35 years of extensive experience in socio-economic studies of farmers' behaviour and in developing economic models related to agriculture and food systems for practical policy formulation and decision-making.

Dr. Amin Mugera is an agricultural economist and agribusiness specialist at the School of Agriculture and Resource Economics and UWA Institute of Agriculture, University of Western Australia. Mugera has extensive research, teaching and training experience in farm management, rural development, and agribusiness. His research has focused on the economics of innovation and growth in the farming sector and strategic management of agribusiness firms along the food value chain. He has investigated the profitability, productivity and competitive advantage of farm enterprises, management of risks associated with people in agricultural firms, drivers of farm labour productivity growth, micro-credit constraints facing women in rural developing countries and agricultural technology adoption and its welfare effects among others.

His research is empirical in nature with a strong policy focus. More recently, Mugera has been a socio-economist for ACIAR funded project on dryland farming in Syria and Iraq. Mugera's research has a global perspective cutting across Africa, North America, Southern Asia, and Middle East in countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, United States, Australia, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Syria and China.

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