Team of UWA ag economists joins RiskWi$e initiative

Grain Central March 13, 2024

UWA Centre for Agricultural Economics and Development deputy director Assoc Prof Fay Rola-Rubzen. Photo: UWA

AUSTRALIAN grain growers are facing an unprecedented and increasing level of risk through weather changes and price volatility.

To address this issue, researchers from The University of Western Australia have joined RiskWi$e, the national risk-management initiative made possible through a $30-million Grains Research and Development Corporation investment.

Launched last year, RiskWi$e is a five-year initiative to understand and improve the risk-reward outcomes for Australian growers by supporting on-farm decision-making.

It aims to help growers better manage risk by providing new knowledge about “risk-reward” that informs decision-making for on-farm management.

The program will be delivered to growers using a participatory action research methodology involving the establishment of Action Research Groups (ARGs), including WA’s Grower Group Alliance.

UWA’s Centre for Agricultural Economics and Development (CAED) has partnered with CSIRO as national project lead to better understand grower behaviour changes, and support adoption.

CAED deputy director Associate Professor Fay Rola-Rubzen will lead a team of UWA agricultural economists: Professor David Pannell;  Associate Professor Marit Kragt; Dr Fiona Dempster and Associate Professor Ben White.

The CAED team will collaborate with the ARGs and their stakeholders to track and enhance understanding of learnings and change management opportunities.

They will interview more than 100 grain farmers and develop tools, communications and strategies for improved risk-reward decision making and adoption.

“Building greater awareness and consideration of behavioural insights is important to ensure impactful delivery of research, communication and activities to different audiences,” Dr Rola-Rubzen said.

“Our team has already started to collect and review data that will aid in risk-related decision making and practice change opportunities.”

Prof Pannell said the types of risk farmers were facing could be grouped into five categories: production, price or market, financial, institutional and human/personal risk.

“Risk is a pervasive issue in agriculture, arising from many sources and affecting every farm-related decision farmers make,” he said.

“Most research on risk focuses on production risk and price risk but the other categories can also cause serious problems.

“I expect the cause for this imbalance of research effort is that fluctuations in production and prices are ever-present and obvious, while the others are more occasional and perhaps harder to anticipate.”

Source: UWA


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