A presentation by Mr John G. Connell Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, James Cook University

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Tropical Landscape Joint Venture

Science with Sushi Seminar

Event date: 30May 2017

Tuesday 30 May 2017

ATSIP Seminar Room 030, Building 145

  • 12 noon

James Cook University, Townsville QLD

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Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture Science with Sushi Seminar


Smallholder farmers remain the backbone of agricultural production in developing countries . Much of our research and development efforts focuses on improving their production as the means to improve their livelihoods . Yet when such efforts are applied within the context of the poor governance of state agencies, (rule of law, accountability, transparency, participation and effectiveness) it remains difficult to see how any fundamental change can be achieved in the longer term .

A recent College of Business Law & Governance (CBLG) project, Enhancing district management and delivery of agriculture extension in Lao PDR ( 2013 - 16 ), was successful in identifying a pathway to shifting field staff from being ‘activity’ to ‘results’ orientated . As a result staff performance improved, which dramatically increased agriculture output in the pilot districts . It is hypothesized that this change in staff performance was gained through altering the institutional ecology of the District Extension Offices . If so, this suggests that such improved performance could be achieved nationally at low cost and without extensive retraining exercises . As well as these pragmatic benefits, this could also initiate improved governance within District agencies . The increased agriculture output (effectiveness) has now encouraged district administrations to reconsider funding for extension . If this does begin to take place, then a demand other governance attributes would result (accountability and transparency), which would then underpin broader change within state agencies .


Mr John G ConnellJohn had a background in metallurgical engineering and moved into international development work as a volunteer in 1975 . He brought innovative approaches to this work and worked with several agencies in the CGIAR system, CIMMYT and CIAT, at the research/extension interface .

He has spent over 30 years working in SE Asia in areas of : development of extension systems ; linking farmer to markets ; and governance within the agriculture sector . In recent years he joined CBLG at JCU to design and implement several ACIAR funded projects that invoke 'organisational learning' and 'governance' within the agricultural sector in Lao PDR .


Diane Jarvis — Diane.Jarvis1@jcu.edu.au or 4781 6023
Jane Addison — Jane.Addison@jcu.edu.au or 4781 4506

Science areas: Environment and Farming and food production

Event type: Public seminar