The UWA Institute of Agriculture

Food and human health

Further Information

Program Leaders

This program enhances the sustainability of rural industries, communities and regions.

We do this through education and research that improves their productivity and prosperity, addresses their environmental challenges, contributes to their broader economic and social development and engages with rural policy and planning processes.


Program members have a broad range of expertise in the disciplines related to rural economy, development and policy, including economics, geography, history, planning and the other social sciences.

The breadth of expertise spans not only Australia, but also China, India, Bangladesh, South East Asia, Africa, Europe and other parts of the developed and developing world.

Back to top


Agriculture provides not only food and fibre for the world, but also makes a direct and indirect contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of millions of people engaged in the industry.

A major concern is the capacity of agriculture to continue underpinning development, particularly given the range of economic, social and environmental challenges facing the industry. These challenges include:

  • ongoing cost price pressures and shortages in skilled and unskilled labour in agricultural industries
  • difficult and complex trading conditions in domestic and international markets
  • the need to provide food safety and quality, plus services and infrastructure
  • economic, social and cultural barriers to the adoption of innovations
  • environmental degradation and the associated loss of productive land
  • land tenure issues, particularly in the Australian rangelands
  • demographic changes, including out-migration, depopulation, an ageing population, and counter-urbanisation pressures
  • deteriorating levels of social wellbeing in many rural communities.

Back to top

New science

The Agricultural and Resource Economics group within the University has made leading contributions to the analysis of farm economies, agricultural markets, the valuation of environmental resources, bioeconomic modelling and agricultural extension.

The Human Geography group has carried out cutting edge research on the linkages between agriculture and rural economic development, the spatial structure of rural economies, social and demographic change and rural services and infrastructure.

In Anthropology and History, social scientists have provided insights into the cultural and political values associated with natural resources and agricultural landscapes.

Back to top


Postgraduate students who research in this program are:

Graduated students