CEAT is focussed on assisting producers, industry, and regional communities across Australia to prepare for and adapt to increasingly extreme, complex, and interrelated climatic conditions. We are working with Policy Partners to initiate critical discussions on the intersecting responsibilities of multiple research and policy agencies and how they can contribute more effectively to supporting agri-food innovation.
In April CEAT hosted a Drought Resilience workshop to explore the intersection between drought, water, drought resilience and agricultural innovation policies and drivers. Drought resilience provides a useful starting point as it encompasses a range of social, economic, and environmental attributes and straddles inter-related policy dimensions. Water and its increasing seasonal and temporal variability present significant challenges for agricultural production and supply chains. This has been especially highlighted in recent years through Australia’s experiences of floods, droughts, and bushfires – all of which are intrinsically coupled to water availability.
Professor Owen Atkin from CEAT, Dr Lorrae van Kerkhoff from the ANU Institute of Water Futures and Neil Byron, Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra framed the challenges facing the sector and drivers for pursuing agri-transformation.
Experts from industry, policy, and research domains were then asked to work through a series of provocations designed to “rethink” current ideas about the roles of government in assisting regional communities to adapt to a changing climate.
Participants were asked to explore the following provocations:
- Current policy and institutional arrangements are ill-equipped to deal with climate variability
- Climate change will accelerate regional land use change, and require government led adaptation measures
- Governments need to get out of the way and let market forces determine resilience pathways in agriculture
- Significant and challenging reforms are required to facilitate regional structural adjustment and more efficient capital flows to realise ag innovation.
As this was the first of a series of three workshops it addressed the big picture institutional, regulatory and policy context shaping agriculture. An overarching reflection emerging from it is the need for government to provide clear, well-defined, and sustained support for institutional and governance arrangements which create the enabling environment for the agri-business sector to invest. Other outcomes included the need for a national agricultural resilience strategy and the development of an intergenerational agriculture framework to inform planning for viable farming futures.
Follow-up workshops will held at the end of May and June to explore more specific interventions to enable meaningful agri-food transformation, inform research and policy priorities, and identify key partnerships for CEAT and the sector.
If these topics are of interest to you or your organisation, you are invited to connect with Nadeem Samnakay at: [email protected]