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Social Sciences

A family in Vietnam packing cassava into a bag

The Social Sciences Program (formerly Agricultural Systems Management Program) aims to help farmers become more resilient, manage risks, and take advantage of market-oriented opportunities.

The program makes extension systems more effective, helps smallholders to adopt agricultural technologies, and designs policies to achieve these results.  It applies farming systems research principles that recognise the farmer’s central role; and researches marketing systems within a whole-of-chain framework.

The program emphasises integrated applied economic and biophysical research with a systems orientation.  The program recognises the need for researchers drawn from both the social and biophysical sciences to work with each other, and with research users, to develop effective agricultural production and marketing practices and resource management strategies.

Agriculture is vital for sustainable growth and development, food security, and reducing poverty in developing countries.  Agricultural innovation will make agriculture more productive and stimulate national economies.

By understanding how farmers make decisions and manage risks based on their circumstances and assets, policymakers can design and implement realistic “people-centred” innovation through research projects that benefit smallholders.

The program operates at farm, regional/provincial and national levels.  It also focuses on marginalised groups, including women and minority ethnicities.

Research Program Manager: Dr Jayne Curnow