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Economists to discuss challenges of feeding a growing planet

Economists to discuss challenges of feeding a growing planet

Tuesday January 20, 2015

A world perspective on the short and long run impacts of food price changes on poverty will be up for discussion at a major international economics conference in Rotorua next month.

The World Bank's, Dr Will Martin, will lead the discussion on food price changes and poverty as part of a session on challenges in the agrifoods sector at the 59th Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society's (AARES) annual conference being held in Rotorua from February 10 to 13.

Dr Martin is manager for agricultural and rural development in the World Bank's Research Group and president-elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. His recent research has focused primarily on the impacts of changes in food and trade policies and food prices on poverty and food security in developing countries. His research has also examined the impact of major trade policy reforms-including the Uruguay Round; the Doha Development Agenda; and China's accession to the World Trade Organisation.

Industry body DairyNZ and Bay of Plenty Regional Council are the major sponsors of the conference, while the University of Waikato, AGMARDT and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) are also giving sponsorship support.

DairyNZ's senior economist Matthew Newman says top academics and policy analysts from around the world will be discussing some of the most challenging issues agriculture is facing. "We have around 250 economists registered to attend from across New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world," says Mr Newman, who is chair of the local conference organising committee.

"The last time New Zealand hosted this major conference was seven years ago."

Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, Thomas Hertel, will open the conference with a presentation on global change and the challenges of sustainably feeding a growing planet.
He is the founder and Executive Director of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) which now encompasses more than 11,000 researchers in 160 countries around the world.

There will also be sessions discussing the effectiveness of recent drought responses in California and Australia. New Zealand's Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright will give the conference dinner speech.

Associate Professor Frank Jotzo from Australian National University in Canberra will discuss why Australia's climate policy collapsed and what that means for environmental economics, while Professor Alan Renwick from University College Dublin will cover challenges in co-ordinating agrifood supply chains.

Professor Juan Pablo Montero from Chile and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's chief executive Mike Underhill will consider how countries can make the most of energy resources and opportunities.

"This is about some of the big issues for agriculture - energy, climate change, food poverty and environmental impacts from an economic perspective. The theme of the conference is 'transformations in agriculture and natural resources'. Environmental economics is an exciting and developing area of applied and academic study around the world. New Zealand is at the leading edge with our focus on farming with environmental limits and new water management policies at the regional and national level," says Mr Newman.

He says a presentation by Associate Professor Graeme Doole from the University of Waikato will look at the lessons learnt in New Zealand through farming within nutrient and water quality limits. There is also expected to be wide interest in a talk from Waikato Professor Les Oxley on how developed economies can sustainably increase, and effectively measure, happiness and well-being.

"We will be running a pre-conference workshop and field trip for delegates to show them local dairy farms and projects including one looking at how water quality is being protected in Rotorua's lakes. In addition, around 200 other papers on a variety of topics will be tabled and briefly presented in special 'contributed papers' sessions," says Mr Newman.

For more information visit www.aares.org.au<http://www.aares.org.au> or see programme attached.

-ENDS-

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