The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Welcome to the 17th International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management and 5th International Symposium on Improving the Performance of Supply Chains in the Transitional Economies

Sponsored by the ISHS Commission Economics & Management and Quality & Postharvest Horticulture

This symposium brings together the 17th International Symposium on Horticultural Economics & Management and the 5th International Symposium on Improving the Performance of Supply Chains in the Transitional Economies, under the overall title of "Enhancing relationships to minimize risk". It will be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014 during the International Horticultural Congress (IHC2014).

Globalisation and trade liberalisation continues to change the nature and structure of the food industry. Every actor within the horticultural value chain has been affected in some way. Through globalisation, food producers have greater access to a wider source of raw materials and new market opportunities. Globalisation also provides consumers with a greater variety of choice and value-added products. However, globalisation also presents food producers with a greater number of challenges, for the food industry is vulnerable to disruptions in areas such as food safety, changing customer requirements, competition, market pressure, legal/statutory requirements and climate change.

In such a volatile environment, actors in the value chain need good risk management practices to identify and manage risk. Opportunity-based risks are the risks associated with not taking an opportunity and those associated with taking an opportunity. Uncertainty-based risk is the risk associated with unknown or unexpected events, which by their very nature, are impossible to control or influence. Conversely, hazard-based risk is the risk associated with a source of potential harm or a situation which has the potential to cause harm. Hazard-based risks include: (i) physical hazards; (ii) chemical hazards; and (iii) biological hazards. To minimise the risk, most markets now require some form of quality management system. However, at the producer level, efforts to introduce quality management systems continue to meet resistance because producers lack the knowledge and there are few price incentives.

Today, most downstream actors in the food industry are managing risk through entering into enduring long-term relationships. Developing long-term relationships provides improved access to markets and more reliable market information; a more reliable supply; improved product quality and performance; and a higher level of technical interaction in the form of potential product adaptations and technical assistance in developing and launching new products. However, the primary reason for establishing relationships with suppliers is that customers realise that suppliers create value.

As this symposium seeks to address the various means of improving the performance of horticulture value chains, we shall welcome papers that discuss any one or more of the following themes:

  • Power/dependence
  • Quality management systems
  • Trust and social capital
  • Consumerism
  • Consumer demand
  • Market information systems
  • Market access
  • Supply chain management
  • International competitive advantage
  • Food integrity and food safety
  • Transport and logistics
  • Sustainability
  • Country or origin labeling
  • Finance and infrastructure
  • Good agricultural practice
  • Grower cooperatives and alliances
  • Post-harvest systems
  • Environmental stewardship


Professor Peter Batt is Professor of Food and Agribusiness Marketing at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. He has extensive international experience in the marketing of fresh produce and the analysis of fresh produce supply chains in Asia. He is currently Deputy Chair of the ISHS Commission on Economics and Management and to date has organised eight international symposia for ISHS including the very successful series on improving the performance of supply chain in the transitional economies.

Dr Peter Oppenheim is chair of the ISHS Commission of Economics and Management and has held teaching and research positions in universities both in Australia and New Zealand. Peter’s research interests centre on two main areas of horticulture - mathematical programming and production planning, and analysis of consumer choice.

Keynote Speaker

Shenggen Fan (樊胜根) has been director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) since 2009. Dr Fan joined IFPRI in 1995 as a research fellow, conducting extensive research on pro-poor development strategies in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He led IFPRI’s program on public investment before becoming the director of the Institute’s Development Strategy and Governance Division in 2005. He has served as the Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food and Nutrition Security since 2012. In 2014, Dr. Fan received the Hunger Hero Award from the World Food Programme in recognition of his commitment to and leadership in fighting hunger worldwide. Dr Fan received a PhD in applied economics from the University of Minnesota and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China.