Mini-Symposia & Thematic Sessions


Mini-Symposia and Thematic Sessions

1. Export market access and trust in Australian agri-food products

An important component of the Australian food system is the export of agri-food products. Australia's agricultural industry has established a reputation as a trusted agri-food supplier in its export markets. Yet, with increasing competition, an understanding of customer demand (i.e., importing country regulators, importers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers) is more important than ever. Although customer's trust in food products has been identified as a key aspect to the success of Australian agri-food industries, what creates that trust is not clear. This makes it difficult for industries and government agencies to invest in aspects that matter to sustain or create and maintain trust with customers. Furthermore, guiding commercial investments aimed at building customer trust requires a more nuanced understanding of who or what within the supply chain needs to be trusted and when, and what personnel, technologies, processes, and systems are capable of building and maintaining trust. The purpose of this mini symposium is to share and discuss findings from recent research conducted by CSIRO on what underpins customer trust, its value to export markets, and how to sustain, or build and maintain trust required for the current era of international agri-food trade.

2. Increasing value of agricultural exports based on high social, environmental and cultural values

This session will explore what consumers are willing to pay in market for social, environmental and cultural attributes of various products and in different countries. This includes through trade modelling the potential benefits to the agricultural sector of capturing these premiums. It will assess how this value can be returned to producers through market orientated value chains. It will present the value chain compass a tool to business to asses the key factors to construct a value chain. Finally it will explore the use of smart technologies, such as mobile phones, by consumers to find out about products and purchase these, to access markets.

3. Pricing Agricultural Emissions in NZ

In December 2022 the Government will be releasing decisions on how greenhouse gas emissions will be priced for the agriculture and horticulture sectors. By the start of 2025 if there is not a viable farm or processor level policy alternative farmers will move into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme. These milestones follow the Climate Change Response Amendment Act being enacted in 2019 and represent a rapid and large - scale programme which is designing and implementing a system to reduce agricultural emissions. Key players in this process are the Climate Change Commission (an independent crown entity designed to provide evidence and advice to guide climate change action in NZ), He Waka Eke Noa (a primary sector climate action partnership) and rural professionals (who are supporting primary producers to adapt to regulations). This session will provide an update on the current process and decisions from these three critical perspectives. It will focus on how the decisions have been made and the expected economic and environmental impacts of these decisions on the agricultural sector. emissions, expected in December 2022. It will also include the role of the Commission going forward with respect to agricultural emissions and beyond.

4. Landholders' preferences for planting and protecting trees on farms

Trees on private lands are essential in providing ecosystem services such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, preventing erosion, and improving water quality. Designing policies to encourage rural landholders to plant trees and protect natural habitats requires knowledge of their values and preferences. This mini-symposium will explore (1) Australian landowners' willingness to pay for trees on farms, including the design, composition, and extent of tree plantings; (2) New Zealand farmers' preferences for the monetary and non-monetary incentives to establish native forests; and (3) the heterogeneity of landholders' preferences for different characteristics of covenant programs in New South Wales.

5. Why Food, Energy, Environment and Water Nexus Analyses should Matter for Economists

Economists are typically trained to think in reductionist terms, focusing on key relationships among a subset of actors who are perceived as decisive and on singular outcomes. Such approaches make it difficult to assess inter-related food-energy-environment-water systems that require the joint consideration of a large number of actors and a variety of variables and systems together. This session discusses several economic Nexus analyses using water, one of the most interconnecting resource, as an entry point to draw lessons for the capacity building in social sciences. Case studies include the economics of systemic water infrastructure assessment; the strengthening of water and food systems interdependencies as a result of climate change; and the transboundary impacts of upstream water interventions for downstream energy and food security.

6. Farmland prices in Australia new estimates, analysis, and predictions

The session will primarily focus on a launch of new ABARES broadacre farmland price estimates (which have been in development since 2018). This work stems from two analytical papers published by ABARES (Chancellor et al. 2019) and (Boult et al. 2022 in press). The discussion will cover the initial analytical work which focused on data cleaning and hedonic models, leading into the stratification method used to develop these new estimates. A demonstration of the newly available estimates will then be presented, interpreted, and discussed. A collaborative project between ABARES and ANU to test the relationship between environmental factors including box gum grassy woodland habitats and biodiversity with relation to farmland prices will then be presented. This study examines an important and highly relevant issue with potential policy implications, namely, whether these environmental factors actually matter in relation to farmland prices. An experimental project using neural networks to predict farmland prices will then be presented. This work has potentially important implications from both statistical and analytical perspectives. The discussion will outline the method and how it was applied, as well as how this approach might be useful for other analytical projects.

7. Competitiveness of New Zealand dairy: demand analysis of plant-based alternatives and synthetic milk

Dairy NZ is leading the Frontier Farms (FF) programme, which seeks to develop and test profitable and sustainable farm systems that are operating ahead of where the frontier of international competition will be in 2030. As part of the FF programme, the Alternative Milks (AM) Project analyses the implications of the competition posed by plant-based milk alternatives and the potential introduction of synthetic milks. As little can be said about the functioning of the market without an assessment of the demand side, this thematic session presents the results of the estimation of a comprehensive demand system for dairy milk and alternatives in New Zealand, and a range of simulations to changes in market conditions and demographics. Therefore, the AM project contributes to the research and debate about the sustainability and resilience of NZ dairy farms within a changing world.

8. Does Research on Women's Empowerment Indices (WEIs) Strengthen Agricultural Policies in the Global South?

This session discusses the uses and impacts of three different empowerment indexes: The Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), the Women's Empowerment in Livestock Index (WELI) and the Women's Empowerment in Migration Index (WEMI) across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The presentations are followed by a panel discussion. The interdisciplinary panel, inclusive of an academic, development partner and policy expert will engage in the discussion to answer the following questions: To what extent do these quantitative indexes go beyond analyzing differentiated roles, experiences, and perception gaps? Does this body of research facilitate policy discussions to explore and address the underlying structural causes, norms, and power relations that underlie differences in empowerment? What else is needed for gender-transformative policy changes?

9.  Public perceptions of and WTP for the protection of biodiversity values

Sodium fluoroacetate, or 1080 toxin, has been vital in the ongoing efforts to control mammal pests that threaten biodiversity values in both New Zealand and Australia. Its continued use is highly contentious, however, because it is considered inhumane as a control strategy and a threat to non-target species. Finding alternatives to 1080 that are cost effective and publicly acceptable has been a cross-disciplinary challenge. Some progress has been made in refining highly targeted ground control techniques, and researchers are exploring the use of genetic technologies as potential tools for pest control. Ultimately, however, the viability of these techniques will also be influenced by public attitudes and acceptance. In this session we will examine evidence about the level of contemporary support for and opposition to various vertebrate pest control techniques, consider the degree to which emerging ground control techniques can achieve cost effective biodiversity outcomes, and reflect on how a better understanding of complex world views can help policy makers engage in effective dialogue with a range of stakeholders.

10. The future of Australian coal and gas industries with decarbonisation in Asia

Australia has the highest per capita coal consumption in the G20, and is a very large exporter of coal and gas. In 2020, Australia exported ~$44 billion in coal and $48 billion in gas exports, roughly 27% of all Australian exports. Australia has announced it will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and a reduction of 43% by 2030. Most of Australia's key customers in the region, including Japan, Korea, and China, have announced similar net-zero plans over the past two years. Recent energy market turmoil and volatile prices are encouraging a more rapid transition away from fossil fuels. This session will cover economic effects of decarbonisation efforts in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region on Australia's fossil fuel industry, as well as policies to mitigate negative effects on the wider economy. Individual talks will cover:- Energy trade in fossil fuels will change as countries electrify and decarbonise their economies. Using the Global Change Analysis Model(GCAM) we examine decarbonisation pathways in Asia, and assess the implications for Australia's role as a supplier of energy to the region.

11. Decision making under risk and uncertainty

Primary sector decision-makers are faced with increasing complexity and uncertainty arising from climate change, natural hazards and a changing regulatory and social environment. Anticipating and responding to risk may require changes to systems and sometimes significant financial investments. Methods that have until now been important tools for assessing the benefits and costs of investments or other system changes, such as Cost-Benefit Analysis, may be limited in how they handle future uncertainty. Alternative approaches are being explored to support decision-making under uncertainty and risk analysis, particularly in the climate change adaptation field. This session includes presentations covering a range of sectors and applications, including the use of portfolio theory to assess viticulture in the Marlborough Region of New Zealand under climate change; how food insecure smallholder farmers decide on their portfolio of livelihood activities (in particular growing cash crops versus food crops); the economic analysis of dynamic adaptive pathways in agriculture under volcanic uncertainty; and decision-making for forestry under wildfire risk. These papers will be discussed by relevant experts from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, with the aim of demonstrating the ways in which different applications of economic analysis can be used to support decisions under uncertainty and contribute to a more resilient primary sector into the future. Indicative presentation titles are: Using portfolio analysis to assess diverse agricultural landscapes under climate change: A case study in the Marlborough wine region Assessing dynamic wildfire risk under a changing climate Volcanic resilience options and co-benefits within dynamic agriculture systems Life at the brink: food insecurity and livelihood choices.

12. Linking research for inclusive agricultural and livestock value chains in LICs and LMICs: the emergence and role of systems thinking approaches

System dynamics (SD) modelling presents a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to linking researchers, development practitioners, and policymakers alike. The bourgeoning interest in SD modelling in agricultural and livestock value chains stems mainly from its ability to capture the complexity of food systems and to help stakeholders quantify alternative policy or inter vention options along the chain. In this session, we present four papers on agricultural and livestock value chains using participatory SD modelling approaches such as group model building, applied in India, Myanmar, and Ghana, and a newly developed web - ba sed simulation interface for poultry value chains in Ghana. The presentations are followed by a panel discussion. The interdisciplinary panel, inclusive of an Early Career Researcher (ECR), policy expert, and an SD expert, will engage in the discussion on the effectiveness of SD modelling for developing 'inclusive' agricultural policies in LICs, LMICs, and countries in the global north as well.

13.  CGE modelling of climate change and energy issues

Heat and Water Stress, Food Insecurity and Global Agricultural and Economic Damages from Climate Change: Heat and water stress due to global warming can generate significant economic losses, depending on the emissions scenario. Using both a statistical and large dimensional GTAP intertemporal model, with land use characteristics and various measures of water stress, we augment our earlier work on heat stress impacts from climate change in terms of losses in agricultural and labour productivity. The combined effects are illustrated and countries with substantial food insecurity (by availability using a minimum calorie intake) are highlighted, along with the potential fall in food production for RCP4.5/8.5 in 2050 and 2100. The economy-wide impacts of output-based allocations of emission rights (Niven Winchester) This study uses a CGE model to examine the allocation of emission rights to reduce GHG emissions. Australian tax options in response to soaring energy prices (Locky Liu) Geopolitical tensions were largely responsible for the price of crude oil rising by more than 50 percent in March 2022 relative to June 2021, and for soaring gas prices. Australia exports its gas in the form of LNG mainly to the Asia-Pacific market. Prices in this market are explicitly linked to oil prices, through long-term contracts with a lag of three to six months. This amplifies the inflationary pressures felt by Australian households due to high oil and thus fuel prices, while LNG exporters realise super-normal profits that mostly flow offshore, due to the sectors substantial foreign ownership shares. We use a single-country dynamic computable general equilibrium model to quantify the economic impacts of (1) a 52.6 percent rise in world crude oil prices; (2) a 50 percent reduction in domestic fuel excises; and (3) a UK-style energy profits levy on LNG exporters as an alternative fiscal policy option.

14. CGE modelling of agricultural and mining issues

(1) Development of LNG production capacity in PNG [Robert Waschik] Planning is under way for a number of LNG projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) starting in 2024. The large capital expenditures and annual revenue from LNG exports are expected to have a significant impact on the PNG economy and welfare of the community. However, although the projects are projected to generate significant revenue, these revenues do not always translate into benefits to the community. Focus should not only be on the project costs and revenues, but should consider how these revenues are used in the economy. We use a dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to estimate impacts of LNG projects under difference management scenarios. [2] The GTAP-DS Model for estimating the international impacts of agricultural domestic support policies [Erwin Corong] This paper presents the Global Trade Analysis Project Domestic Support (GTAP-DS) model which facilitates explicit analysis of agricultural domestic support policies within a global framework. The standard GTAP model is extended to trace the economic implications associated with changes in domestic agricultural subsidies, while maintaining in place any agricultural taxes and import tariffs or their trade-restricting equivalents. Using the GTAP-DS model and latest GTAP version 11 data, we highlight the policy relevance of this approach with a simulation directly targeting changes in agricultural domestic support, including decomposing results into the contributions arising from each type of domestic subsidy measure. We end with an assessment and a discussion on how the model can also be used to analyze subsidy policies in other sectors such as energy. [3] Food-and-mouth disease impacts [Glyn Wittwer] Foot-and-mouth disease has devastating short-term local impacts due to mandated destruction of livestock herds and restricted movements in and out of locally affected regions. But, as is the case with many disease outbreaks, the largest potential economic losses arise from trade sanctions. This study uses a new dynamic model, GlobeTERM, with sub-national plus international regions, to project the impacts of a hypothetical outbreak in Australia.