New rural industries for future climates - Ros Prinsley


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  • shocks are bigger-scale. I increase productivity but reducing resilience. Good at squeezing thelast ounce out of the systems that we use. OK with stable environmentshock of some sort, we need some flexibility becoming less resilient.
  • Changing lifestyles and the increasing globalization of trade have tended tofavour only a few major crops and these have come to dominate agriculturalproduction, processing and commerce, nationally and internationally. Thedemands for research – and hence funding - have inevitably concentrated onthese same commodities. As a result, not only are a number of food speciesfalling into disuse, to be replaced by the major crops and the products derivedfrom them, but also many other species are similarly affected such as those thatcan contribute fibre, medicine, fodder, or construction material. However, many of theseneglected and underused plant species have the potential to play a much more important rolethan they do today in sustaining livelihoods and human wellbeing and inenhancing ecosystem health and stability.
  • We have our crops because of the ingenuity and brain-power of our Stone Age forebears. There has been hardly a single food crop domesticated in modern times. There are pecans, kiwifruit, wild rice (which is just now being domesticated), blueberry, cranberry, and a few others, but, taken on a global basis, it is a very small number of not very important crops. We cannot say truly that the few score out of the 20,000 species that we eat are the best because there are more than 19,000 that haven't been given a chance. The second myth is that we've had our food crops always. Most of the public believes that our crops go back to Biblical times or beyond, but most of the foods we eat are remarkably recent arrivals in Western diets. Before the age of Columbus, Europeans lived happily on their few traditional crops: wheat, rye, oats, barley, cabbage and dried peas. They thought that they were eating the best crops, and during their self-righteous complacency they went through famine, many times. This was a common occurrence because when Europe had a cold, wet summer, the wheat, rye, oats and barley wouldn't ripen their grains. But suddenly, after Columbus, the galleons from Central America and the caravels from South America, brought Europe a cornucopia of new fruits and vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, peppers, tomatoes, squashes, beans, maize, pineapple, chocolate, vanilla, not to mention tobacco. These were the traditional foods of the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayas, and the other American Indians. Europeans had known not one of these before. To them they were revolutionary, not to say subversive, new foods. They resisted them. The tomato was denounced as being toxic. (You can still find a few people who have some doubts about whether it is safe to eat.) The potato was shunned as ungodly because it was not mentioned in the Bible. Many people insisted that potatoes caused leprosy and other dread diseases, and they pointed to Ireland, where there was a population boom, and said that potatoes sent people mad with lust. The truth is, that the Irish children were so well nourished by the potato that they were surviving, whereas in the rest of Europe the children were dying. It actually took decades of study before the English government would officially approve potatoes ... to be eaten by cattle!
  • New rural industries for future climates - Ros Prinsley

    1. 1. New Rural Industries for Future ClimatesDr Roslyn PrinsleyThink • Connect • Transform
    2. 2. Rising Sea Levels Damage control?
    3. 3. Anticipation? What will the next generation grow in the Torres Strait?
    4. 4. Floods in BangladeshReplace chickens with ducks
    5. 5. Outline• New industries, climate change and resilience• New industries for future climates• Can we get there?
    6. 6. Challenge• Existing agricultural industries challenged by climate change under warmer and drier climates with more extreme events.• Farmers need viable new industry options and systems with an increased range of climatic suitabilities.• Need prediction but also need preparedness (Hayman)
    7. 7. Are we prepared?• Traditional agricultural systems, maximising production• Focus on increasing productivity - decrease resilience.• Climatic shocks larger and more frequent.• Climatic shock – need flexibility
    8. 8. Our staples• 50% of human energy is provided by only 3 cereal species – rice, wheat and maize• About 22 crops feed the world.……a dangerous vulnerability…….
    9. 9. Diverse systems are more resilientto extreme climatic events• Increase diversity - reduce risk• Range of crops at different stages of production cycle at a point in time.• Crops with particular defences• Not all production affected.Risk distribution agronomy vs profit maximisingagronomy (Swaminathan)
    10. 10. New industries have a vital role intransforming agriculture Adapted from Howden 2009, Barlow 2010
    11. 11. Do we have options ready? • 20,000 plant species eaten in the world. • 100 to advanced agronomic level. • ‘’New” industries offer: • increased profitability and sustainability • diversification and resilience • new products and jobs • carbon sequestration
    12. 12. Crops for the FutureAn internationalorganisationspearheading the driveto bring underutilisedcrops into themainstream
    13. 13. New Rural Industries Australia - the future of agriculture• entrepreneurial Australians investing in new and emerging industries• creating an environment for development and building of new, innovative, Australian rural industries through cooperation
    14. 14. New Industries for FutureClimates • Identifies regions and industries where climate change will alter the current mix of agricultural industries • Determines plant traits required for future climates • Suggests new industries that meet these criteriaCullen, Thorburn, Meier, Howden and Barlow, 2010
    15. 15. Irrigation water availability, quality and price key drivers of change in MDBCrop Water Resilience to Salinity tolerance requirement for drought/ Low full production irrigation water New industries – resilient irrigated cropsOlives High High ModerateDates Very High High Very HighJojoba High High ModeratePomegranates High High ModerateQuandong, bush Low-Moderate High Hightomato, desert limeCacti Low High HighCapers Low High High Traditional industries – high value irrigated cropsWine grapes High Low ModerateCitrus High Low Low Cullen, Thorburn, Meier, Howden andPomefruit High Low Low Barlow 2010
    16. 16. Olive$ more resilient to variable watersupply than citrus 2500 Gross value of irrigation ($/ML irrigation applied) 2000 1500 Olive Citrus 1000 500 0 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% Irrigation allocation Gross value of irrigation in olive and citrus orchards at different levels of irrigation availability Cullen, Thorburn, Meier, Howden and Barlow 2010
    17. 17. New crops with higher tolerance to salinity Soil salinity threshold (ECe dS/m) 20 18 16 14 Pomefruit & Citrus 12 Olive 10 Grape 8 Date palm 6 4 2 0 0 10 25 50 Yield loss (% ) Soil salinity threshold (dS/m) for 0, 10, 25 and 50% yield loss in pomefruit, citrus, olives, grapes and date palm.
    18. 18. CAM WUE- higher than other crops Fruit crop Yield tons/hectare Irrigation Water use m3 water ha-1year-1 efficiency t fruit/ML water C3 Crops Peach 12 6280 1.9 Various Citrus 35-80 10,000-12,000 3.5-6.6 CAM Crops Koubo 25 1200-1600 15.6-20.8 Vine cacti 35 1200-1600 21.9-29.2 Mizrahi, 2010
    19. 19. Dryland agricultureQuinoa cultivated in the Andesfor 5,000 years • Subsistence agriculture in the Andean Highlands is exposed to drought, frost, wind, hail, salinity and soil erosion Jon Clements
    20. 20. Quinoa• Salt tolerance grows successfully where soil salt concentrations are as high as that of seawater.• Drought tolerance grows in sand where annual rainfall is only 200 mm. Deep root system, vesicles on young plants & low osmotic potential• Frost tolerance can survive temperatures as low as –8°C for 2–4 h• Yields 1.5-3 t/ha• Nutritional values • Compared to rice - 20 x Calcium &15 x Iron. • Compared to wheat - 2 x Calcium & 4 x Iron. • Comparable levels of amino acids to wheat, and contains an amino acid, lysine, which normally isn’t found in vegetable proteins.
    21. 21. Dryland agricultureNative Australian grasses “major dependence” by aboriginal tribes on milled grass grains for food • Low water requirement for growth and survival • Low fertility requirement • New food, pasture and bioenergy options Ian Chivers, Native Seeds Pty Ltd
    22. 22. Can we get there?
    23. 23. National Expenditure on Rural Related R & D • $1.66 billion(Core 2009) or $2.9billion spent annually on rural related R&D • $13 million spent on new & emerging rural industries R & D (RIRDC, National R, D and E Strategy New and Emerging Industries 2010) • ie 0.8% or less of the total rural R & D budget is spent on new and emerging rural industries • Is the balance right between incrementalism and transformation? (Sounness)
    24. 24. Why not?• Temptation to look for quick fixes, short term funding and trivialisation of innovative approaches• “She’ll be right” (traditional Australian approach)• Insurance value of diversity not easily detected most agricultural research (Jackson et al.)• Resilience approach conflicts with current policy doctrines eg economic efficiency removes so-called redundancies – ie sources of resilience (Walker 2010)
    25. 25. Why not?• new industries high risk and often fail• inadequate availability of information• general lack of awareness means: • insufficient attention to creation of a favourable policy environment for new and emerging industries • underinvestment in R & D• seems too hard – easier to accept the status quo and incremental improvements in crops we are used to• we are not uncomfortable enough to drive change - yet
    26. 26. All Australian agriculturalindustries were once newindustries
    27. 27. We will be eating some foodfrom new crops And remember - it’s only kinky the first time Ian Godwin