Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Real-world training for agribusiness researchers

An enthusiastic group of 22 young agribusiness researchers are planning to use their newly acquired skills in market and consumer research to improve their work, thanks to a successful master class run in Hanoi, Vietnam.

(L-R) Pham Thi Thuy (Vietnam), Souphalack Inphonephong (Lao PDR),
Le Nhu Thinh  (Vietnam) and Idha Widi Arsanti (Indonesia)
on their way to run a focus group with women consumers

The first Agribusiness Master Class, funded by ACIAR and the Crawford Fund, benefited 16 enthusiastic and talented researchers from Vietnam, along with others from Indonesia, Cambodia, Lao PDR and the Philippines. Participants were from a variety of backgrounds including  government, research and the private sector.

Nguyen Thi Lien (far right), checking the quality of
leafy green vegetables during a visit to the wet market
Agribusiness research helps improve the income and livelihoods of poor farmers and rural communities. It is really important for young researchers to have the latest skills to better understand consumer needs, identify market opportunities and develop more inclusive, efficient and competitive agricultural value chains that benefit the poor.

Learning by doing
The Agribusiness Master Class was a fantastic opportunity for energetic mid-career researchers working in the agri-food sector in South-East Asia, to network with each other and update their knowledge about market and value chain research methods.

In this first market research module, participants spent five challenging but fun-packed days focused on real-world examples. It was  ‘learning by doing’ through a combination of lectures, reflection sessions, team-building exercises, panel discussions, market visits, running focus groups and consumer surveys, and also mini-projects addressing key issues in local fruit and vegetable value chains.

Nguyen Thi Sau and Le Nhu Thinh (Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables
Research Institute), running a focus group with women consumers
Sharing expertise
The enthusiasm of the trainees was matched by the presenters:
• Dr Suzie Newman, ACIAR project leader, University of Adelaide
• Dr Wendy Umberger, Director, Global Food Studies, University of Adelaide
• Dr Tiago Wandschneider, a value chain research specialist, Portugal, Tiago
• Dr Denis Sautier, CIRAD-Malica, Vietnam.

Interesting perspectives were also provided by Prakash Jhanwer, OLAM South-East Asia Regional Manager, Sigrid Wertheim-Heck, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Fresh Studio and Dale Yi, University of Adelaide.

Graduates of the Crawford Fund Agribusiness Master Class
in market and consumer research
Building skills and networks
The training not only provided the group with technical and practical skills, but also promoted mentoring networks for support. This is vital to build the pool of experienced agribusiness specialist researchers in Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. 

"The master class gave me the chance to share and to enhance my academic and practical knowledge of agribusiness," said Pham Qoc Hung, School of Business Administration, Can Tho University, Vietnam.

A big thanks goes to Dr Suzie Newman for overseeing and coordinating the first Agribusiness Master Class. A second one, this time on value chain research, will be held in September 2014.

By Dr Rodd Dyer, Agribusiness Research Program Manager and Mandy Gyles, ACIAR Communications

1 comment:

  1. Thank ACIAR and all presenters for giving us a great opportunity to learn experience in doing REAL research!


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