2017 ARA Conference: Dupont-Dow Merger to be a Major Focal Point

This years ARA Conference and Expo will be host to a multitude of essential workshops and segments (and of course, the annual golf tournament). Among the featured industry trailblazers and frontrunners to speak at the conference, there will be a highlighted discussion of the proposed Dupont-Dow merger by James C. Collins Jr. The merger is to be finalized at the close of the stock market on Aug. 31st and begin trading shares publicly Sept. 1st as DowDupont Inc (DWDP). Since the deal’s announcement, industry professionals and investors have been anticipating its affect on the market.

2016 ARA Conference

Collins, the executive vice president of Dupont, shall keynote the opening general session on Nov. 29th – the merger will be the centerpiece of the session, as well as current developments and related trends. Collins received a B.S. in bioengineering at Christian Brothers College in Memphis, Tenn. and started at Dupont Manufacturing as an engineer in 1984. Since then, he has held various supervisory and management positions within the company. Collins is also credited with the introduction of the Dupont Crop Protection program; which increased overall crop yields since its implementation.

After the merger, Collins will assume the position of chief operations officer (COO). Dupont and Dow, with a combined market value of $150 billion, will transcend BASF SE to become the world’s largest chemical company. Expect Collins to expand on the separation of DowDupont Inc. into three separate companies: each one with an emphasis on agriculture, specialty products, and materials. The three-way separation is to be finished by 2019 and the boards of both Dupont and Dow have been reviewing this separation to ensure that it would bring the most favorable value for its shareholders. It will also be expected for Collins to curb any concerns regarding any market volatility that could arise between Sept. 1st and Nov. 29th post-merger.

The 2017 ARA Conference is to be held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. For more information regarding the event and registration, go to www.aradc.org.


The Benefits of Blockchain in Agribusiness

Within the last few years, the agricultural industry has seen substantial benefits from the use of app technology and mobile development programs. In Australia, we are seeing how the introduction of Blockchain, as we have seen used within the context of cryptocurrency, could further increase productivity within agribusiness. Agribusiness of course, is having anything and everything that has to do with agriculture—from putting the seed in the ground to futures trading. Before we begin, I always want to give clear definitions of our subject so that we can then delve into its significance.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain, was first introduced by a person (or group) by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. This valuable piece of tech is has been used to transfer currency or assets between two individuals without the need of an arbiter. Every transaction is recorded in a register that is shared by everyone associated within that blockchain. Each single transaction of an asset is known as a block and the ongoing history of that asset is where the term blockchain is derived from. While blockchain was originally developed for the use of digital currency, the tech community has found a variety of other uses for blockchain in varying industries.

Blockchain and Agribusiness

So now within the context of agribusiness, blockchain has brought three significant overall benefits: The use of mobile payments/credits, real-time of supply chain transactions and financing, and last but not least, a new level of transparency.

Economic access to capital has always been an issue for a majority of farmers in the past, however mobile banking and micro-financing has created a great alternative for many. The only problem that farmers face with this new resource is the high risk factor and lack of transparency; making blockchain a perfect resolve.

Even CEO’s of big financial platforms, as Dmitry Zaretsky founder of IQ Option, expressed their full confidence of this “new farm Bitcoin”.

Not only can blockchain create transparency for farmers, but for consumers as well. For many consumers, looking for credibility within the organic food market, blockchains can create platform to make the supply chain completely transparent from farm to table. This will provide consumers with a plethora of information about their food and also allows manufacturers and retailers to justify the added costs of certain products.

Teaching the Future

With many seeing the exponential benefits of app technology within the industry, there are a couple schools making this a priority to teach to their students. The Muresk Institute near Perth, Australia will be offering associates degrees in agribusiness by 2019. Allowing a 2-year agribusiness program as a pathway to a bachelor’s is estimated to increase the amount of students to pursue agribusiness as a career. Many institutions have took notice of the evolving nature of agriculture to agribusiness, and the benefit of taking a more progressive and cumulative approach.

The importance of agribusiness for young people in Uganda

The school education, solely based on theory, is overvalued. Students need to be taught skills and abilities they will have a use for in the future, when they will start working, and the government should intervene and invest more on this.

Surprisingly, Uganda has a very fertile ground and a warm climate, ideal for farming. However, this sector is very underdeveloped and young people do not take it into account: they tend to emigrate, not knowing that agribusiness is of crucial importance for Uganda itself. The food market is fundamental for the country. Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, known to most as as Bobi Wine, was the first one to take a stand and speak directly to young people during the Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship camp Namugongo-Kyoto Spiritual Resort in Wakiso, organized by the Uhuru Institute of Social Development.

Bobi Wine knows the reality of young people of Uganda. Despite being a key part of the population, more than half of them do not have a job.

“This is not just a waste”, Bobi says, “it is very dangerous. Their energies are channeled towards illegal, dangerous activities, like drug dealing, gambling and violence.”

The solution?

“It is a very important sector for a single, simple reason: people need to eat to live.

And one does not need high specialized education to be able to farm.
I myself bring my children with me to my farm in Magere, Wakiso, and I make them work: in this way I know that they understand the importance of the sector, and the importance of food itself.”

A training course has already begun with more than a hundred young people -from all over the country- to whom all the “secrets of the industry” have been taught. The program officer is Stephen Omongin Odeke.
According to him, it is the lack of practical skills in the education provided to young people that has caused all this unemployment.

“The government should intervene against this extremely theoretical education given at schools.”

And what do the young ones think about it?


The reports are more than positive. Albert Kahima from Kamale District tells how it has been very easy for him, thanks to the education provided by the Uhuru Institute, to start cultivating his land and raising small animals. Now he has a good profit, and he is pleased by the business he has accomplished completely alone.

Likewise, Laura-Angel Kyakunzire (from Wakiso), after attending the course, acknowledged how young people do not realize the great opportunities hidden in the Uganda lands. She also plans to open her own business.

Ronald Ben Ayiasi, a student from Makerere University, claims that there is a desperate need for young people in agriculture and in markets. Only young minds and a good workforce can revive a reality that seems to have been forgotten.

New comer for Muresk, Agribusiness Degree

From the year 2019, Muresk Institute will be offering an Associate degree in Agribusiness. The benefits of pursuing the degree at Muresk include the flexibility delivery modes which include sit in classes at Muresk and Curtin’s Bentley campus and reinforced with practical experience.

Block teaching will be introduced to address the students’ seasonal work commitments associated with the farming sector.

There are 45 students pursuing Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management (BABM) that were delivered by Charles Sturt University. 9 students have been enrolled in the course from the start of next year.

#Agribusiness education & related

The previous government had in 2016 identified risks linked to the financial viability of the BABM degree from its onset, reason being that there was over estimation of the number of students in its modeling leading to unrealistic revenue targets. The government commissioned an independent evaluation of the degree.

The previous government ignored advice and continued to fund a financially unviable and failing program. The Curtin University will be a pathway into the full Curtin University Bachelor of Agribusiness by offering a 2-year Agribusiness Associate Degree program.


Assurance from the Government

Sue Ellery, Education and Training Minister, said that the government’s announcement of an Associate Agribusiness Degree at Muresk was an indication of its commitment to growing the students’ agricultural skills. She also said that the State bears an opportunity for diversification and jobs creation through the agricultural industry.

Ellery assured student currently pursuing the BABM course that they will receive full support to complete their course unaffected.

Deborah Terry, Curtin University Vice Chancellor, praised the campus as one with strong commitments to research and teaching in agriculture in WA with its focus on growing its base of agriculture and food sectors with continued support to the growth within the sector.

Terry said that the university saw the delivery of the Agribusiness Associate Degree as part of their commitment. The development of the course in association with the industry is necessary to meet industrial needs.

In conclusion, Terry said that Agriculture had evolved into agribusiness, becoming a vast complex system going beyond the farm to those bringing fibre and food to consumers.

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