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2011 Summer - food, fuel and climate change mitigation- can agriculture do it all

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FPJ0804 - Cameron, N, Agriculture and energy, a growing challenge in the world and in Australia

Cameron, N, Agriculture and energy, a growing challenge in the world and in Australia, Farm Policy Journal, Vol8 N4, pp 39-50
Nicolette Cameron is theJohn Ralph Essay Competition Student Winner

This essay investigates the role agriculture could play in meeting future global food and fuel requirements. In doing so it outlines areas of policy which may assist Australians farmers to meet these conflicting demands. The essay first describes the challenges for agriculture in increasing both food and fuel output, as well as, sequestering carbon using current resources including soil, water, vegetation, technologies and research developments. Research and development (R&D) has played a central role in agriculture’s performance in past decades. Whilst agricultural productivity in Australia generally continues to increase, the incremental growth observed in previous decades is decreasing. Productivity growth achieved by agriculture, compared to other sectors of the economy has throughout history been very strong, possibly due to the focus on R&D advancements. This essay examines the different parameters of this equation and explores current factors impeding or boosting agricultural productivity and sustainability for the different agricultural sectors. The role of carbon sequestration and biofuels in addressing both productivity and food security is also discussed and it is identified that further developments of industry and markets are required. The essay then focuses on water and land use possibilities in the north and central regional areas of Australia and their topical role in increasing long-term productivity growth.



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