Enhancing Food Security in Australia by Supporting Transformative Change
A key challenge for Australian farmers is the production of a sustainable, stable and sufficient quantity and quality of food. This must be done against a backdrop of numerous unprecedented changes in climatic, environmental, economic and social conditions. We consider the role that research and development (R&D) can play in facilitating effective change management in the agricultural sector.
Reflecting on the historical development of agriculture on the continent over the past two centuries, we highlight some of the pivotal agricultural developments and their social, economic and environmental impacts, as well as the prevailing R&D context at the time. This shows how agricultural development in Australia has at times been abruptly altered by fundamental transformative activities.
As further transformative changes are likely to be increasingly required into the future, we consider how a better understanding of the decision-making processes used to manage change may enhance the effectiveness of the R&D delivered to today’s agricultural producers. We describe our attempts to systematically assess how decisions to fundamentally transform agricultural enterprises are made by stakeholders at different stages in the food production chain. We suggest that the greater costs, risks and complexity associated with transformative, as compared with incremental, change management may require the enhanced consciousness that is evident in triple-loop learning. We also identify a number of factors that may hinder or facilitate attempts to transform, and how R&D investments can better support agricultural producers maintain and increase their contribution to the nation’s current status as a net exporter of food.
KeywordsGovernance System Incremental Change Food Security Status Food Production System Triple Loop Learning
- ABARE (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics). (2008). Australian Commodity Statistics: Summary of Australian statistics for wheat. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.abareconomics.com
- ABARE (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics). (2009). Australian Commodity Statistics: Summary of Australian statistics for wheat. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.abareconomics.com
- ABC News. (2010). Rice shortage to force temporary industry restructure. Retrieved August 17, 2010, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/05/2081913.htm
- ABS. (2010). 7111.0—Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2009–10. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/7111.0
- Alcamo, J., van Vuuren, D., Ringler, C., Cramer, W., Masui, T., Alder, J., et al. (2005). Changes in nature’s balance sheet: Model-based estimates of future worldwide ecosystem services. Ecology and Society, 10(2), 19.Google Scholar
- Anon. (1901). Royal commission to inquire into the condition of the crown tenants, Western Divisions of New South Wales. Sydney: Government Printer.Google Scholar
- Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
- Attwood, S. J. (2010). The impacts of agricultural intensification on arthropod assemblages at global and local scales. PhD thesis, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.Google Scholar
- Biggs, H. C., & Rogers, K. H. (2003). An adaptive system to link science, monitoring, and management in practice. In J. T. du Toit, K. H. Rogers, & H. C. Gibbs (Eds.), The Kruger experience: Ecology and management of savanna heterogeneity (pp. 59–80). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Collins, D. (1975). An account of the English Colony in New South Wales: With Remarks on the Dispositions, Customs, Manners etc. of the Native Inhabitants of That Country, original 1798/ed. By B.H. Fletcher. Sydney, A.H. &A.W Reed in association with the Royal Australian Historical Society.Google Scholar
- Condon, R. W. (2002). Out of the West: Historical perspectives on the Western Division of New South Wales. Lower Murray Darling and Western Management Catchment Management Committees (p. 444). Yowie Bay: Rangeland Management Action Plan.Google Scholar
- Cleugh, H., Stafford Smith, H., Battaglia, M., Graham, P. (2011). Climate Change: Science and Solutions for Australia. CSIRO PUBLISHING, 168 pp. http://www.csiro.au/Outcomes/Climate/Climate-Change-Book.aspx
- DAFF. (2011). Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Research and Innovation. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/innovation
- De Schutter, O. (2010). Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. United Nations General Assembly, Human Rights Council. Sixteenth session, Agenda item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2011.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/SNAA-8EBLUA-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf
- FAO. (2008). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
- Farrer, K. T. H. (1980). A settlement amply supplied: Food technology in nineteenth century Australia. Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
- Garnaut, R. (2011). Garnaut Climate Change Review—Update 2011. Update Paper four: Transforming rural land use. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from http://www.garnautreview.org.au
- Henzell, T. (2007). Australian agriculture: Its history and challenges (p. 320). Collingwood: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
- Howden, S. M., Crimp, S. J., & Nelson, R. N. (2010). Australian agriculture in a climate of change. In I. Jubb, P. Holper, & W. Cai (Eds.), Managing climate change: Papers from the GREENHOUSE 2009 conference (pp. 101–111). Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
- Marshall, N. A., Park, S. E., Adger, N., Brown, K., & Howden, S. M. (in press). Transformational capacity and the influence of place and identity. Environ. Res. Lett.Google Scholar
- Marshall, N. A., Gordon, I. J., et al. (2010). The reluctance of resource-users to adopt seasonal climate forecasts that can enhance their resilience to climate variability. Climatic Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-010-9962-y.
- McAlpine, C. A., Etter, A., Fearnside, P. M., Seabrook, L., & Laurance, W. F. (2009). Increasing world consumption of beef as a driver of regional and global change: A call for policy action based on evidence from Queensland (Australia), Colombia and Brazil. Global Environmental Change, 19, 21–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Meinig, D. W. (1962). On the margins of the good earth. The South Australian wheat frontier 1869–1884 (p. 231). Chicago: The monograph series of the Association of American Geographers, Rand McNally.Google Scholar
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Current state and trends. Findings of the Condition and Trends Working Group (p. 948). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Olsson, P., Gunderson, L. H., et al. (2006). Shooting the rapids: Navigating transitions to adaptive governance of social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 11, 18.Google Scholar
- Park, S. E., Marshall, N., Jakku, E., Dowd, A. M., Howden, S. M., & Mendham, E. (2011). Informing adaptation responses to climate change through theories of transformation. Global Environmental Change. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.10.003. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Research, A. (2008). An economic analysis of GRDC’s investment climate research (2002–2007). Impact Assessment report Series. Canberra: GRDC.Google Scholar
- Sheng, Y, Mullen, JD and Zhao, S (2011). A turning point in agricultural productivity: consideration of the causes, ABARES research report 11.4 for the Grains Research and Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, May. http://www.adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_abares99010542/RR11_4AgricProductivity_LowResREPORT.pdf.
- Stokes, C. J., & Howden, S. M. (2010). Adapting agriculture to climate change: Preparing Australian agriculture forestry and fisheries for the future. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
- The Age. (2010). Climate drives big wine deal. Retrieved August 17, 2010, from http://www.theage.com.au/business/climate-drives-big-wine-deal-20100816-1272s.html