Commission Economics and Management: Newsletter 14 (September 2015)

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While it is 12 months after IHC 2014 in Brisbane and a few months since the last meeting of the Commission in Alnarp, Sweden (in May-June 2015), the new ISHS Board and Executive Committee concluded its meeting in Istanbul August 13-14. Arising from that meeting there are a number of items that I wish to bring to your attention:

  1. The Acta Horticulturae containing the 42 papers from Brisbane has been edited and should become available in due course. The exact publication date has yet to be confirmed. ISHS will soon be publishing all 31 IHC 2014 proceedings as a consecutive numbering in the Acta Horticulturae series starting from Acta Hortic. number 1101! The new format of Acta Horticulturae will commence with the IHC 2014 proceedings;
  2. Some of you are already aware of the new requirement that any future symposia must now guarantee a minimum of 100 Acta. What this implies is a minimum of 100 full fee paying delegates. However, given that none of the four supply chain management symposia have achieved that number: Chiang Mai (86), Ha Noi (64), Kuala Lumpur (42) and Cebu (59) and even the last combined meeting of E+M and the Commission of Education, Training, Research and Consulting (Chiang Mai) drew just 58 full fee paying delegates, it's highly unlikely that E+M will meet in the near future as a stand-alone group;
  3. For the forthcoming IHC 2018 in Istanbul in August 2018, the Organising Committee has given E+M one track which will occupy all five days. How these five days are allocated will depend on the number of papers submitted and accepted across the discipline which is expected to be very diverse: consumer choice, food safety and certification, store choice, farm management, cooperatives and alliances, value chains, risk management and sustainability, and economic models and econometrics; IHC 2018 will commence in Istanbul from Saturday evening, August 11, with registration and a formal welcome and cocktail reception. The congress itself will get underway on August 12 and will conclude on Thursday, August 16. The congress will be held at the Istanbul International Convention and Exhibition Centre. While the venue is immediately adjacent to the Hilton hotel, within a ten minute walk there are numerous local and international hotels. More details will follow;
  4. In addition to IHC 2018, there are three other regional symposia at which tracks have been allocated to E+M: the Third All Africa Horticultural Congress in Ibadan Nigeria (August 7-12, 2016), the Third Intl Symposium on Horticulture in Europe in Crete, Oct 17-21, 2016 and the Second Asian Horticultural Congress in Chengdu City, China, Sept 26-28, 2016.
  5. Arising from the plenary presentation of IHC Brisbane, E+M will also participate in the First Intl Symposium on Poverty, Hidden Hunger and Horticulture to be held in Cairns, Australia from November 20-25, 2016;
  6. ISHS continues to experience a decline in membership, which, in the current environment, is not unusual. What it does mean, is that we, as an organisation, need to be more relevant to youth today, and to be seen to be promoting a positive, professional image of horticulture as a career path.
    Given that the next generation seem to want to travel and to change the world, with this in mind, I am contemplating renaming the Commission from Economics and Management to Rural Development. I have, in consultation with other members of the Board and Executive Committee selected this name for discussion because I believe it captures what we as a Commission fundamentally undertake. Furthermore, to ensure that the membership at large better understands what we do, I'm proposing to establish three new Working Groups: (a) impact assessment – which will capture economics and econometric models; (b) marketing – and I don't wish at this point in time to differentiate between B2C and B2B; and (c) value chains. I haven't sought to establish a separate management group as I believe that management pervades everything that we do and that it is adequately captured within the three working groups.
    Please, by return email, can I ask you to think about: (i) what Rural Development means or could mean to you; (ii) where are the potential gaps – what other disciplines or areas might we inadvertently exclude if we were to adopt this name; and (iii) what alternative names you might consider which you believe are more inclusive.
    From my perspective, I'm seeking to portray Rural Development as an inclusive holistic, systems based methodology which requires an integrated approach from multiple discipline areas including soils and substrates, water and nutrition, pest and disease control, and appropriate technologies including protected cropping and post-harvest. Our goal is to provide sustainable outcomes for society (the people) and for the planet. Ultimately though, if anything is to be sustainable, it must be profitable.
    As some chairs have already revealed in discussion, most don't know how to evaluate the benefit cost of their innovations and thus, at the grower level and even at a wider society level, to positively influence the adoption of their technologies. Upon receipt of your ideas and your comments, I'll circulate the responses for ratification and potential implementation. At the next Executive Committee and Council meeting in Quebec in August next year, ISHS will embark upon a strategic review of the Society, which may include a restructuring of our operations. I'd like to be able to demonstrate that we as a Commission have already thought about how we can be more relevant;
  7. With the new abstract and manuscript submission system now being fully operational, all submissions to all future ISHS symposia MUST be done on-line. In order to submit a manuscript, the presenting author MUST be a member of the Society.
  8. Prior to the submission of the manuscripts to ISHS for publication as an Acta Horticulturae proceedings, an editor may, at their discretion, now elect to upgrade the best papers to the European Journal of Horticulture Science (eJHS). Authors will then have the choice of publishing in Acta Horticulturae or eJHS. However, the decision to accept a paper in eJHS will ultimately be made by the Editor in Chief. In those situations where a paper is upgraded, the author would be expected to pay the publication fee of Euro 1000 (Euro 750 for ISHS members) [please note eJHS is an open access journal and hence the need to charge a publication fee for accepted papers]. For a limited time during the launching year publication fees will be waived for those papers invited for an upgrade to eJHS.

Peter J. Batt
Chair, Commission for Economics and Management

The 18th International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management was held at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in Alnarp, Sweden, May 31-June 3, 2015. The event was launched by Prof. Dr. Paul Jensén, Vice Dean of International Affairs and Swedish Country Representative of ISHS, and Mrs Gunilla Nordberg, Chairman of the Horticultural Section of the National Federation of Swedish Farmers. This was followed by a presentation by Prof. Dr. Mårten Carlsson, now retired from his position as the first Swedish professor in horticultural economics and Vice Chancellor of the university. Mårten gave an exposé of the early history of the Commission for Economics and Management, starting with "the founding fathers". Among the pioneers of our discipline were W.J. Sangers from the Netherlands, W. Busch from (then West) Germany and R. Folley from the UK. The audience was encouraged to complete the picture and contribute to the writing of the history of Horticultural Economics as a discipline. For those not present, the following link contains some of the highly interesting material, a "starting kit" for this continuous process:

During the first two days of the symposium some 30 participants from around 13 countries gave 24 oral presentations and showed six posters within the themes: consumer studies; international trade; knowledge transfer; value chains; production and management; and sustainable consumption. The symposium dinner started off at Alnarp's Museum and continued in the manor hall in the big campus park.

The final day comprised a technical tour to flower, fruit and vegetable growers and a fruit producer organisation, and ended with a barbecue in a secluded place in southeastern Sweden.

I would like to express my thanks to all participants for contributing to a successful event with interesting presentations and stimulating discussions. Thanks also to Partnership Alnarp for financial support and to the organising committee for adding to the spirit of the "Horticultural Economics Family".

Prof. Dr. Lena Ekelund