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2012 Summer - Can Australia become the food bowl of Asia?

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FPJ0904D - Perrett - Tackling the ‘Wicked Problem’ of Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities for Australian Agriculture

Perrett, E (2012), Tackling the ‘Wicked Problem’ of Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities for Australian Agriculture, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 11-19, Summer, Surry Hills, Australia. 


The next 15 years will present significant challenges and opportunities for Australian agriculture. Food security is a growing global concern that will have direct impacts on the lives of hundreds of millions, particularly in Asia. Food security will also necessarily impact on the livelihoods of Australian farmers. Whether Australia is able to capture the opportunities or not depends on the ability to address key challenges, both biophysical (including water, energy and phosphorous and climate) as well as institutional and policy challenges.

This essay suggests that viewing food security as a ‘wicked problem’ is a positive step in acknowledging and accepting these challenges. Further, it encourages the emergence of new and innovative ways to tackle these problems. It is suggested that while Australia may not be able to become the ‘food bowl’ of Asia, the knowledge and experience of Australian agriculture puts the industry in a position to help lead the changes required. However, this will only be achieved through coordinated and systematic policies and actions underscored by leadership from governments.



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