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Producer involvement critical in drought research

By Dr Amin Islam, Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Climate and Agricultural Systems)
26 October 2022

Farmer-oriented research programs are the missing piece in the puzzle of creating a drought resilient agriculture sector in Australia: farmer involvement in planning. 

At the SQNNSW Innovation Hub, we conducted a multi-stage systematic review of existing research activities in Australia exploring potential drought management research areas. We found drought related research activities followed a highly top-down approach and were predominantly influenced by the scientists’ perspectives.

A wide range of uncertainties exist in drought management decision making due to variations in understanding of drought perspectives among scientists, policy makers and primary producers, making adapting and mitigating drought impacts difficult.

Projected climate change scenarios indicate Australian agricultural industries are likely to be more vulnerable to drought, but we found that among the research projects conducted, only 24% of the projects considered the necessity of farmers’ involvement in improving drought management planning research. Additionally, building social and natural capitals did not get much pace in these research activities at all.

Results also indicated that grazing industries attracted top-most priority in terms of drought-related research, and the vegetable crops got the least attention.

Our study thus emphasises the necessity of producer-oriented research programs to improve drought resilience across the agricultural sector.

We are presenting our findings as a poster (PDF 2MB) at the 2022 TropAg Conference in Brisbane, October 31 - November 2, 2022.