4th Annual Research Conference & Filed trip to local industry, 22nd - 24th November 2017 in Bogota & Cali, Colombia

UASM and the Business, Nature and Value research network invite managers of agribusiness and food processing firms, representatives of public agencies, academics, researchers and students to discuss research findings emerging from sustainable agribusiness models that aim to generate economic, social and environmental benefits in value chains. This seminar-workshop is one of several UASM events being organized to promote research on improved productivity and wellbeing in the world’s agro-food sector.

Agro-food chains play a key role in the economy and food security of all countries. Agribusiness models evolve as efforts are made to expand world food output in response to rising population and changes in food demands, such as the need for healthier and more nutritious foods. Additionally, agriculture and cattle grazing provide the main source of employment and income generation for the world’s rural population.

Agro-food chains significantly impact the environment. Agriculture consumes vast amounts of water through irrigation systems, and livestock emit greenhouse gases; together, these activities make use of fertile soils that, in some regions, lead to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and water and soil pollution from the use of agrochemicals. Moreover, agro-food chains consume energy in transport, processing systems, and packaging – a major source of household waste. Agricultural systems are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as floods, drought, and plagues.

Efficient and productive agro-food chains nourish global supply chains. For example, palm oil is grown in tropical zones, sold and transformed in industrialized regions, and products derived from palm oil are sold again in shops and supermarkets around the world; small palm oil producers compete in local markets with multinational firms, and specialty products are marketed to gourmet consumers worldwide.

Innovation, technology, and sustainable practices are indispensable inputs for developing competitive agro-food chains that create added value for both food growers and consumers.

Successful agribusiness models deploy environmentally friendly management practices, and partner with local communities, academic institutions and civil society organizations to build marketing networks and supply new markets.

The UASM seminar-workshop provides a platform to present and discuss innovative models for strengthening agro-food chains. Business firms, public agencies and academic researchers can undertake joint efforts to advance knowledge generation and develop new approaches for addressing sustainable agro-food challenges. Overcoming poverty in rural communities is essential to ensure the success of Colombia’s current peace process, let alone promoting social and economic development in other emerging economies.


  • Examine innovative models for agro-food chains generating economic and environmental benefits.
  • Explore the interaction of business firms, academic institutions and civil society organizations in developing sustainable agro-business models.
  • Explain why agro-food businesses hold the promise of poverty reduction and improved wellbeing in rural communities.

Target audience

  • Managers of agribusiness and food processing firms interested in innovative business models
  • Researchers attached to the Business, Nature, and Value global network, based at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • Academics, researchers and university students working on agribusiness development
  • Public agency representatives linked to agricultural and rural development
  • Representatives of agricultural institutions and food associations
  • Civil society organizations concerned with rural, agricultural and food development


The seminar-workshop will span three days:

Day 1 features a plenary session open to the public, where innovative applications of sustainable agro-business models in Colombia and other countries are presented and discussed. A panel of experts will review the challenges and perspectives of sustainable agro-food business models in emerging economies.

Day 2 features an academic workshop where researchers from UASM and the Business, Nature and Value network will present advances in their work, discuss funding sources and means for disseminating research findings. Posters in a designated area will exhibit company successes, new products developed by agro-food chains, and illustrations of successful agribusiness models.

Day 3 offers a field trip for some 20 Business, Nature and Value network researchers from various universities to witness the successful application of an innovative agro-business model at a rice plantation and processing plant in Cali, Colombia.

Upcoming - 5th Annual Research Conference, in China and/or South Africa, with partners Tianjin University of Finance and Economics and Stellenbosch University

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