Agricultural adaptation during times of change - Thilak Mallawaarachchi


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  • An emphasis on patterns; environmental change, social change; and that past experience may not be a basis for action.The purpose of this presentation is to question that mind set and examine how we can better use the knowledge of the past and an appreciation of the present in moving forward under uncertainty. It is more a matter of understanding ‘How the future is unfolding in the present”, because our current choices squarely determine our future and the choices today are influenced by our past decisions.This path-dependence is an area of critical importance in planning for adaptation strategies and making them work effectively.That involves understanding the cause and effect relationships and in particular the necessary and/or sufficient conditions for past choices and outcomes to influence the present. Exploring this fully, is beyond the scope of this presentation.What we are doing instead is to look at the past ten years and see what we can glean from that experience to influence future decisions.The ensuing work will address the broader issues of resilience in agriculture and its interactions with productivity and growth to help identify policy opportunities.
  • The response strategies are affected by prior beliefs, moderated by the rate of learning, diffusion of knowledge and the capacity to respond as states of nature unfolds
  • Agricultural adaptation during times of change - Thilak Mallawaarachchi

    1. 1. Agricultural adaptation during times of change Thilak Mallawaarachchi, David Adamson, John Quiggin and Peggy Schrobback Risk and Sustainable Management Group, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4067Paper presented to the CCRSPI Conference 2011, The National Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries, February 15-17 2011, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
    2. 2. Adaptation • Adaptation to climate change – finding ways to live with scarcer water, higher peak temperatures, higher sea levels and weather patterns at odds with those under which today’s settled patterns of farming developed The Economist, Nov 25, 2010Photo credit: Anthea McClintock, Jemalong, NSW, 151210
    3. 3. Agricultural Adaptation • Crop adaptation – sole basis of agriculture* – The relationships between the environmental factors and the growth response of plants – Matters of ecology, with elements of geography, physiology, genetics, meteorology, and agronomy • Climate risks include issues beyond farm – Linked through markets and trade, and social imperatives such as food security and poverty*Wilsie, CP & Shaw, RH 1954, Crop Adaptation and Climate, in AG Norman (ed.), Advances in Agronomy, Academic Press, vol. Volume6, pp. 199-252.
    4. 4. Climate risks• Increasing uncertainty – Affects the set of available options – And the nature of outcomes of decisions• Potential payoffs are dictated by knowledge and endowment Faced with the prospect of learning, increasing uncertainty leads to a preference for more flexible strategies Problem How to find the set of flexible and efficient strategies when the distribution of the states of nature is widening
    5. 5. Farm sector performance Agricultural Returns (2010 Values) $60 250Billions $50 200 $40 150 Gross Value of Production $30 Farm Costs 100 Net Return $20 Terms of Trade 50 $10 $0 0 1983-84 2001-02 1969-70 1971-72 1973-74 1975-76 1977-78 1979-80 1981-82 1985-86 1987-88 1991-92 1993-94 1995-96 1997-98 1999-00 2003-04 2005-06 2007-08 2009-10 1989-90 Source: ABARES
    6. 6. TFP and TOTSource: Shen, Grey & Mullen (2010)
    7. 7. Dairy: Less Cows But Increased Output Dairy Statistics7,0006,0005,0004,0003,000 Dairy Cows2,000 Milk (L/Cow)1,000 0 1968-69 1965-66 1971-72 1974-75 1977-78 1980-81 1983-84 1986-87 1989-90 1992-93 1998-99 2001-02 2004-05 2007-08 1995-96
    8. 8. History matters• Path dependence• Explanations for path dependence – increasing returns (size economies) – self-reinforcement (complementarity) – positive feedbacks (early-mover advantage) – lock-in (popular choices, capital fixity) ... and more ...
    9. 9. Real Value of Australian Agricultural Output by Commodity $60Billions Livestock $50 Cereal for grain $40 Milk Wool $30 Vegetables $20 Fruit and nuts Cotton $10 Other Grapes $0 Sugarcane Oilseeds
    10. 10. $16Billions $14 $12 $10 $8 Fruit and nuts $6 Cereal for grain $4 Livestock $2 $0
    11. 11. Broadacre Farm Performance over timeSheng et at 2011
    12. 12. Economies of size and technologySheng et at 2011
    13. 13. Issues for exploration• Path dependence of farmers’ technical choices for managing climate risk when farmers have difficulty in separating climate change from natural variability• Adopting sub-optimal decisions in the interim in adapting to change• Understanding the role of externalities in defining sub-optimality for society• Linking agroecological and institutional innovation for optimal decisions under uncertainty
    14. 14. Global effects 1 Global climate change 2 Sectoral effects National effects 3 Economic growth Population Technology Governance Strategic planningAgricultural systems
    15. 15. Schematic representation of methods used to combine crop and climate models.Challinor A J et al. J. Exp. Bot. 2009;60:2775-2789
    16. 16. Cross-scale interactions over time Regional/ Landscape Farming system Plot/paddockRepresent uncertainty as states of nature and their range of probabilities
    17. 17. Understanding the full pictureIt is argued that the Indian peasants in Chiapas, Mexico arebackward, they produce only two tons of maize per hectare asagainst six on modern Mexican plantations. But this is only partof the picture. The modern plantation produces six tonnes perhectare and that’s it. But the Indian grows a mixed crop.Amongst his corn stalks, that also serve as support for climbingbeans, he grows squash and pumpkins, sweetpotatoes, tomatoes and all sorts of vegetables, fruit andmedicinal herbs. From the same hectare he also feeds his cattleand chickens. He easily produces more than 15 tons of food perhectare and all without commercial fertilisers or pesticides andno assistance from banks or governments or transnationalcorporations.Jose A. Lutzenberger, former Minister of the Environment for Brazil.
    18. 18. Decline of the Sheep Industry? Australian Sheep Numbers (Million)200180160 ACT140 Tas120 WA100 80 SA 60 QLD 40 VIC 20 NSW 0 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009