Policy issues impacting on crop production in water-limiting environments

Book Title: NA
Year Published: 2005
Month Published: NA
Author: Radcliffe, JC
Book Group Author: NA

Policy issues have impacted on cropping since the earliest days of European colonial settlement. Following emigration to Australia, secure land titles were required, with the Torrens title system being progressively introduced from 1858. This provided the basis for landholders to be able to borrow to develop land. Closer settlement policies were adopted, underpinned by the development of transport infrastructure. The demand for education resulted in Agricultural Colleges in the colonies from the 1880s, with Departments of Agriculture soon afterwards. Federation of the colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia and the creation of the states resulted in a separation of powers, with the Commonwealth assuming responsibility for external powers including overseas marketing, import quarantine, health and quality standards of exports and credit and financial powers. Natural resource management matters and education were among those remaining with the states. Regular intergovernmental meetings were held to discuss research from 1927 and a broader range of agricultural issues from 1935. The Great Depression in the 1930s, poor commodity prices and serious land degradation led to government support for debt reconstruction and the introduction of soil conservation services. Realising the need for innovation to successfully compete on world markets, farmers, led by cereal growers, petitioned for the establishment of statutory research programs with joint grower/government funding from the 1950s. These have been remarkably successful, with the uptake of new technologies contributing to an average multifactor productivity growth of Australian grain farms by 3.3% per year between 1977-78 and 2001-02. With community and policy recognition of the need to conserve natural resources, the Commonwealth Government is playing an increasing role in this area. Farmers are required to meet standards for the use of agricultural chemicals and for occupational safety, welfare and environmental protection. The states have taken a conservative stand against the growing of genetically modified food crops in the name of protecting overseas markets. New water management regimes are coming into place with the separation of water titles from land. Market-based instruments are being introduced to encourage more sustainable production systems and saleable ecosystem services. Research and innovation along with complementary policy initiatives will continue to underpin farmers' adaptive management skills to ensure dryland crop producers have sustainable production systems while remaining competitive in world markets.

Pages: 1303-1313
Volume: 56
Number: 11
Journal ISO: Aust. J. Agric. Res.
Organization: Grains Res & Dev Corp; Rural Ind Res & Dev Corp; Australia Acad Sci; Dept Agr Western Australia; Univ Western Australia; Australian Wheat Board; Australian Soc Plant Sci; Ctr Legumes Mediterranean Agr; Export Grain Ctr; Alcoa World Alumina Austral
ISSN: 0004-9409
DOI: 10.1071/AR05072

ecosystem services; governance; grain industry; natural resource management; producer subsidies; productivity; research and development

Source: Web of Science
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