Adelaide to play a key role in helping the Pacific

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The University of Adelaide will play a key role in a $10 million project to help improve the livelihoods of Pacific Island countries by developing more efficient agricultural markets.

Professor Randy Stringer and Dr Wendy Umberger from the University's School of Agriculture, Food and Wine have been awarded $2 million for their part in a project to identify markets and supply chains that will benefit six islands in the Pacific - Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

As two of the leading agricultural economists in the country, Professor Stringer and Dr Umberger will partner with Australian and Pacific Island agencies over the next four years to promote stronger economic growth in the Pacific and subsequently improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

The Federal Government has provided $10 million through the Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI), which will underpin the development of high-value agricultural, fisheries and forestry products in the Pacific.

This initiative is co-ordinated by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

The project will help Pacific Island communities to become more competitive and access local, regional and global agricultural markets.

"More and better quality jobs and enhanced value adding bring economic growth opportunities to low income households," says Dr Umberger. 'For example, the University of Adelaide will explore the potential for certification programs focusing on community benefits and environmental outcomes."

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Mr Bob McMullan, announced the $10 million grant this month at the Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis, held in Vanuatu.

"The Pacific faces a number of challenges if it is to meet the Millenium Development Goals, particularly given the impacts of the global food crisis and the more recent recession," Mr McMullan said.

"This initiative will make it easier for farmers in the Pacific to get their products to markets. It will enable them to be competitive players in the region while still ensuring their businesses are sustainable."

Australian partners in the PARDI project include the University of Adelaide, University of Queensland, the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Queensland), University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University and Rural Solutions SA.

The $2 million grant is the largest ever awarded by ACIAR to the University of Adelaide.


Contact Details

Professor Randy Stringer
Agriculture and Food Policy Professor
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7123
Mobile: 0405 148 007

Professor Wendy Umberger
Executive Director, Centre for Global Food and Resources
Faculty of the Professions
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7263
Mobile: 0405 990 465

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762