Australian Center for International Agricultural Research

Canberra ACT, Australia

Australian Center for International Agricultural Research

Canberra ACT, Australia
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Sutherland H.,Deeargee | Scott J.M.,University of New England of Australia | Gray G.D.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | Woolaston R.R.,30 Airlie Road
Animal Production Science | Year: 2013

A unique project led by livestock producers, called the Cicerone Project, was undertaken on the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales, Australia, following acknowledgement by those producers of a widening gap between them and research and extension information. The overall aim of the project was to co-learn, through a partnership between livestock producers, research, extension and other specialists, how to improve the profitability and sustainability of grazing enterprises in that region. It was hypothesised that closer engagement would help to guide relevant research efforts and also enhance the adoption of research findings. With the support of industry funding and the collaboration of key research, education and extension partners, the inaugural steering committee of the Cicerone Project commissioned a survey of over 300 land managers in the region to explore their research and adoption needs. The survey identified the most important issues and found a high level of commitment to the formation of this producer-led project. Negotiations between all collaborators led to the creation of a Business Plan prepared as the basis for an initial funding period of 5 years. Subsequent reviews of the project allowed for extensions with associated activities over an additional 4 years. In order to study the key farm management alternatives identified from the producer survey, the Cicerone Project Board decided to adopt an agricultural ecosystem approach which conducted studies using three whole-farmlet systems. The farmlet experiment compared three contiguous farmlets by measuring as many aspects of the farm systems as possible using an approach summarised in the motto adopted by the Cicerone Project of 'compare-measure-learn-adopt'. A wide range of field days and seminars were held over the duration of the project to deliver the results to the producer members. This paper provides an introduction to a Special Issue containing 24 papers which report on the entirety of the project from planning, to execution, results, and reflections on the value obtained from the many research and extension activities, with particular emphasis on the farming systems trial conducted between 2000 and 2006.

Weng L.,James Cook University | Boedhihartono A.K.,James Cook University | Dirks P.H.G.M.,James Cook University | Dixon J.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | And 2 more authors.
Global Food Security | Year: 2013

An extractive industries boom in Africa is driving unprecedented expansion of infrastructure into sparsely populated regions. Much of the investment is in high-volume minerals such as iron and coal that will require heavy infrastructure and large settled workforces. New roads and railways are being built to support these industries. Mineral infrastructure is reinforcing the dynamic of designated "growth corridors", which are increasingly determining settlement patterns and rural land use in Africa. These corridors are penetrating into areas where agriculture has been constrained by lack of access to markets. They could unleash a major expansion of arable crops in the Guinea and Miombo savannahs, tropical tree crops in Congo Basin rainforests and irrigated agriculture on the floodplains of several African river systems. Rapidly growing African cities are largely dependent on imported food but growth corridors linking them to hinterland areas could favour shifts to African-sourced foods. Governance weaknesses may allow outside investors to make land grabs along growth corridors and further marginalise poor smallholders. New pressures on environmentally sensitive areas may emerge. Policy changes are needed to avoid negative impacts of this major new development trend and to exploit the potential for poverty alleviation and food-security benefits. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Li X.,Huazhong Agricultural University | Li X.,CIMMYT Impacts Targeting and Assessment Unit | Waddington S.R.,CIMMYT Impacts Targeting and Assessment Unit | Dixon J.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | And 2 more authors.
Food Security | Year: 2011

Variation in water availability is a major source of risk for agricultural productivity and food security in South Asia. Three hundred and thirty expert informants were surveyed during 2008-09 to determine the relative importance of drought and water-related constraints compared with other constraints limiting the production of four major food crops (wheat, rice, sorghum, chickpea) in five broad-based South Asian farming systems. Respondents considered drought an important constraint to crop yield in those farming systems that are predominantly rainfed, but associated it with low yield losses (well below 10% of all reported losses) for crops in farming systems with well-developed irrigation. In these systems, other water-related constraints (including difficult access to sufficient irrigation water, the high cost of irrigation, poor water management, waterlogging and flooding of low-lying fields) were more important. While confirming the importance of drought and water constraints for major food crops and farming systems in South Asia, this study also indicated they may contribute to no more than 20-30% of current yield gaps. Other types of constraint, particularly soil infertility and the poor management of fertilizer and weeds for the cereals, and pests and diseases for chickpea, contributed most yield losses in the systems. Respondents proposed a wide range of interventions to address these constraints. Continued investments in crop-based genetic solutions to alleviate drought may be justified for food crops grown in those South Asian farming systems that are predominantly rainfed. However, to provide the substantial production, sustainability and food security benefits that the region will need in coming decades, the study proposed that these be complemented by other water interventions, and by improvements to soil fertility for the cereals and plant protection with chickpea. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. & International Society for Plant Pathology.

Harrington T.C.,Iowa State University | Kazmi M.R.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | Al-Sadi A.M.,Sultan Qaboos University | Ismail S.I.,Iowa State University
Mycologia | Year: 2014

Fourteen new species in the Latin American Clade (LAC) of the Ceratocystis fimbriata complex recently were distinguished from C. fimbriata sensu stricto largely based on variation in ITS rDNA sequences. Among the 116 isolates representing the LAC, there were 41 ITS haplotypes. Maximum parsimony (MP) analysis of ITS sequences produced poorly resolved trees. In contrast, analyses of matingtype genes (MAT1-1-2 and MAT1-2-1) resolved a single MP tree with branches of high bootstrap and posterior probability support. Four isolates showed intragenomic variation in ITS sequences. Cloning and sequencing of PCR products from a single haploid strain identified two or more ITS sequences differing at up to 16 base positions and representing two described species. Isolates from introduced populations that appeared to be clonal based on microsatellite markers varied at up to 14 bp in ITS sequence. Strains of seven Brazilian ITS haplotypes and an isolate from Ipomoea batatas (on which the species name C. fimbriata was based) were fully interfertile in sexual crosses. These analyses support three phylogenetic species that differ in pathogenicity: C. platani, C. cacaofunesta and C. colombiana. Five ITS species (C. manginecans, C. mangicola, C. mangivora, C. acaciivora, C. eucalypticola) appear to be ITS haplotypes that have been moved from or within Brazil on nursery stock. The taxonomic status of other species delineated primarily by ITS sequences (C. diversiconidia, C. papillata, C. neglecta, C. ecuadoriana, C. fimbriatomima, C. curvata) needs further study, but they are considered doubtful species. © 2014 by The Mycological Society of America.

Herrero M.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Thornton P.K.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Notenbaert A.M.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Wood S.,International Food Policy Research Institute | And 13 more authors.
Science | Year: 2010

Farmers in mixed crop-livestock systems produce about half of the world's food. In small holdings around the world, livestock are reared mostly on grass, browse, and nonfood biomass from maize, millet, rice, and sorghum crops and in their turn supply manure and traction for future crops. Animals act as insurance against hard times, and supply farmers with a source of regular income from sales of milk, eggs, and other products. Thus, faced with population growth and climate change, small-holder farmers should be the first target for policies to intensify production by carefully managed inputs of fertilizer, water, and feed to minimize waste and environmental impact, supported by improved access to markets, new varieties, and technologies. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement for Science. All Rights Reserved.

Langeveld J.W.A.,Biomass Research | Dixon J.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | van Keulen H.,Wageningen University | Quist-Wessel P.M.F.,Biomass Research
Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining | Year: 2014

Estimates on impacts of biofuel production often use models with limited ability to incorporate changes in land use, notably cropping intensity. This review studies biofuel expansion between 2000 and 2010 in Brazil, the USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Mozambique, South Africa plus 27 EU member states. In 2010, these countries produced 86 billion litres of ethanol and 15 billion litres of biodiesel. Land use increased by 25 Mha, of which 11 Mha is associated with co-products, i.e. by-products of biofuel production processes used as animal feed. In the decade up to 2010, agricultural land decreased by 9 Mha overall. It expanded by 22 Mha in Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Mozambique, some 31 Mha was lost in the USA, the EU, and South Africa due to urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, conversion into nature, and land abandonment. Increases in cropping intensity accounted for 42 Mha of additional harvested area. Together with increased co-product availability for animal feed, this was sufficient to increase the net harvested area (NHA, crop area harvested for food, feed, and fiber markets) in the study countries by 19 Mha. Thus, despite substantial expansion of biofuel production, more land has become available for non-fuel applications. Biofuel crop areas and NHA increased in most countries including the USA and Brazil. It is concluded that biofuel expansion in 2000-2010 is not associated with a decline in the NHA available for food crop production. The increases in multiple cropping have often been overlooked and should be considered more fully in calculations of (indirect) land-use change (iLUC). © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Healey M.,University of British Columbia | Dugan P.,Worldfish Center | Barlow C.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research
Environmental Management | Year: 2011

We compared the effects of water resource development on migratory fish in two North American rivers using a descriptive approach based on four high-level indicators: (1) trends in abundance of Pacific salmon, (2) reliance on artificial production to maintain fisheries, (3) proportion of adult salmon that are wild- versus hatchery-origin, and (4) number of salmon populations needing federal protection to avoid extinction. The two rivers had similar biological and physical features but radically different levels of water resource development: the Fraser River has few dams and all are located in tributaries, whereas the Columbia River has more than 130 large mainstem and tributary dams. Not surprisingly, we found substantial effects of development on salmon in the Columbia River. We related the results to potential effects on migratory fish in the Mekong River where nearly 200 mainstem and tributary dams are installed, under construction, or planned and could have profound effects on its 135 migratory fish species. Impacts will vary with dam location due to differential fish production within the basin, with overall effects likely being greatest from 11 proposed mainstem dams. Minimizing impacts will require decades to design specialized fish passage facilities, dam operations, and artificial production, and is complicated by the Mekong's high diversity and productivity. Prompt action is needed by governments and fisheries managers to plan Mekong water resource development wisely to prevent impacts to the world's most productive inland fisheries, and food security and employment opportunities for millions of people in the region. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA).

Keating B.A.,CSIRO | Carberry P.S.,CSIRO | Bindraban P.S.,Wageningen University | Asseng S.,CSIRO | And 2 more authors.
Crop Science | Year: 2010

Eco-efficiency in the simplest of terms is about achieving more with less-more agricultural outputs, in terms of quantity and quality, for less input of land, water, nutrients, energy, labor, or capital. The concept of eco-efficiency encom-passes both the ecological and economic dimensions of sustainable agriculture. Social and institutional dimensions of sustainability, while not explicitly captured in eco-efficiency measures, remain critical barriers and opportunities on the pathway toward more eco-efficient agriculture. This paper explores the multidi-mensionality of the eco-efficiency concept as it applies to agriculture across diverse spatial and temporal scales, from cellular metabolisms through to crops, farms, regions, and ecosystems. These dimensions of eco-efficiency are integrated through the presentation and exploration of a framework that explores an efficiency frontier between agricultural outputs and inputs, investment, or risk. The challenge for agriculture in the coming decades will be to increase productivity of agricultural lands in line with the increasing demands for food and fiber. Achieving such eco-efficiency, while addressing risk and variability, will be a major challenge for future agriculture. Often, risk will be a critical issue influencing adoption; it needs explicit attention in the diagnosis and intervention steps toward enhancing eco-efficiency. To ensure food security, systems analysis and modeling approaches, combined with farmer-focused experimentation and resource assessment, will provide the necessary robust approaches to raise the eco-efficiency of agricultural systems. © Crop Science Society of America.

Bartlett A.G.,Australian National University | Bartlett A.G.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research
Australian Forestry | Year: 2016

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) commissions collaborative agriculture, fisheries and forestry research projects in developing countries. Over a 30-year period, ACIAR has invested over AUD 100 million to fund 150 forestry projects and activities in 29 countries, with most of these projects implemented in Indonesia, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. This article describes the approach that ACIAR uses to develop and implement projects, and reviews the nature of the ACIAR Forestry Program and its achievements during each decade of its existence. About three-quarters of the research projects have focused on aspects of smallholder and community forestry systems. The findings from a series of independent impact assessment studies, which demonstrate generally high returns on the forestry research investment, are reviewed and some examples of different categories of impacts from the research projects are discussed. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Qureshi M.E.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | Dixon J.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research | Wood M.,Australian Center for International Agricultural Research
Food Security | Year: 2015

The challenge we face today is the achievement of zero hunger in the world by 2050. Enhancing food security not only enhances health and productivity, it contributes significantly to social wellbeing, economic development and national and global stability. Such achievements will call for effective public policies to influence the areas of demand and access through markets and supply. In relation to demand; many policies can target consumer demand for food, including instruments which influence employment and incomes, food preferences and consumer knowledge, health services and food safety. Policies which influence consumer access to food depend on functional value chains, equitable market environments, infrastructure and stabilisation policies – and above all creating enabling environments for business investment and engagement through incentives and regulations. The third group of policies analysed are those that influence producer supply by assisting in enhancing food production, including through rural infrastructure development, agricultural research and development, resource management, farm inputs and produce pricing. In this paper we consider a range of diverse policy approaches targeted at demand, access and supply that directly affect food and nutrition security with a view to better understanding which are most effective at addressing zero hunger. We conclude that the effectiveness of food security policiesis determined by selecting the best bundle of policy instruments for the specific context and country and that tradeoffs between policy instruments should be well-understood, in order to achieve the right goals and avoid perverse outcomes. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology.

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