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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Agribusiness Perspectives Papers 2002

Bio-Dynamic and Conventional Irrigated Dairy Farming in Australia an Economic Analysis

Els Wynen
Eco Landuse Systems Pty Ltd
Paper 50, February 12th, 2002


In 1989 a project was started by the Department of Agriculture in Victoria, Australia, comparing six bio-dynamic (b-d) dairy farmers with a conventionally farming neighbour. The number of farmers was later expanded to ten pairs. The survey was to run for three years and measure a number of soil, plant and animal characteristics. A financial comparison between the bio-dynamic dairy farmers and their conventionally farming neighbours was required as part of the project for the years 1980-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92.

Genetic Modification Free Zones 1

Government of Western Australia 2&3
Paper 51-1, April 9th 2002

This paper is one of a collection of three related papers

1 A consultation paper that the Government of Western Australia has released. The WA Government has called for responses to this paper.
The Western Australian Department of Agriculture gratefully acknowledges the cooperation of the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment in allowing the use of the contents of its consultation paper.
This consultation paper draws on the following paper : Genetic Engineering-free Zones, Victorian Government Consultation Paper, March 2001. ISBN 0 7311 4769 3. Published by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, PO Box 500, East Melbourne 3002


Genetic modification or GM (also known as gene technology, genetic engineering, genetic manipulation) is a term used to describe a group of techniques which can alter the genetic material of a living organism (plant, animal or microbe) and thus modify its characteristics. The technology has a wide variety of applications including research, agriculture, production of therapeutic goods (e.g. insulin), bio-remediation (e.g. use of micro-organisms to decompose toxic substances) and industrial uses.

In the agricultural sector, proponents of GM believe that advances in primary production, from the use of this technology, will allow Australia to improve existing production efficiency. This in turn will help to maintain or improve Australia's share of world markets.

Despite the promise of this relatively new technology, the public has been confronted with charges and counter charges concerned with the risks and benefits of using GM.

Genetic Modification-Free Zones: Comments

John Hamblin1
Research Director, Export Grains Centre Ltd
Paper 51-2, April 9th 2002

This paper is one of a collection of three related papers

1A discussion paper for public consultation was released in December 2001 and an opportunity provided by the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Kim Chance MLC, for public comment on the potential role of Genetic Modification-free zones in the Western Australian farming system


Export Grains Centre Ltd (EGC) aims to ensure that the farmers of Western Australia have a wide choice of world-class crop varieties. Therefore EGC has an interest in technical and commercial issues that affect the availability of new varieties to farmers.
The Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 covers health and safety aspects of GM crops for people and the environment. However in its matching legislation the WA Government may reserve specific areas for growing GM or non-GM crops for marketing purposes

Submission to the Western Australian Government iIn response to - Genetic Modification-Free Zones: A discussion paper for public consultation

Life Sciences Network, Level 2 AMP Building, Canberra City ACT 2601, Locked Bag 916, Canberra City ACT 2601,
Phone: +61 2 6230 6986, Fax: +61 2 6248 9706,
Paper 51-3, April 9th 2002

This paper is one of a collection of three related papers


The Life Sciences Network advocates responsible use of genetic modification, with appropriate caution, for the development of products and processes to add value to the economy, human and animal health and the environment. The Network sees genetic modification as being one of a multitude of technology and operational developments, which will combine to increase sustainability of the economy, rural communities, agriculture and the environment.
Therefore the Network advocates choice in farming practices and co-existence of different agricultural systems.
It is clear from international experience all three agricultural production methodologies; organic, conventional and high tech use of GM can co-exist, complimenting each other for a sustainable and efficient production outcome. Producers should be able to choose the production system (or combination of systems) most appropriate to their individual operation.
The introduction of zones in Western Australia, which exclude GM crops, would deny the possibility of co-existence. One method of farming would be excluded to make way for another, thus imposing on the right of some farmers to choose their own future. It would preclude farmers being able to choose measures of production involving GM organisms that may lead to improved economic wealth within their communities, as well as the adoption of more cost effective sustainable farming systems.

Policy Influences on Genetic Diversity in Australian Wheat Production

David Godden and John P. Brennan
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Sydney, and Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, Wagga Wagga NSW.
Paper 52, April 10th, 2002
PDF Version 583 Kb


The research reported in this paper has its origins in a wider project (e.g. Brennan et al. 1999a) examining economic dimensions of genetic diversity in the wheatgrowing industries of Australia and China. Part of this study involved the econometric estimation of the supply of and demand for genetic diversity in the Australian wheat industry. Especially since 1945, government policy has had a major impact on the marketing of Australian wheat, and also on the research and development process. Government policy is therefore a possible shifter of the supply and demand curves, and some “policy” variable would be required to test the significance of this hypothesis. Construction of such a policy variable required the preliminary analysis of the likely forms of government policy that might eventually affect the supply and demand for genetic diversity.
Genetic diversity in the Australian wheatgrowing industry is interesting for three principal reasons. Firstly, individual farmers face an array of risks and uncertainties including price and production risk. Wheat varieties, because of their different genetic makeups, respond differentially to climatic and other environmental (e.g. pest and disease) conditions. Choice of wheat variety offers some opportunities to manage risk and uncertainty in wheat production. For example, some wheat varieties are optimally sown “early” in a season, whereas others may be sown “late”. The availability of different varietal types allows farmers to exploit different climatic conditions as they emerge. This factor might be denoted “routine” risk and uncertainty.

Chickpea Marketing in India: Challenges and Opportunities

Frank W. Agbola - School of Business and Economics, Monash University-South Africa Campus, Roodepoort, South Africa
Timothy G. Kelley - CGIAR Interim Science Council Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome, Italy
Martin J. Bent - Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Curtin University of Technology, Northam, Western Australia and
P. Parthasarathy Rao - International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, A.P., India
Paper 53, June 6th 2002
PDF Version 114 Kb


India's food economy has undergone fundamental changes in the 1990s. As part of these reforms the chickpea industry is being transformed into a market-oriented sector through the process of liberalisation. Despite these reforms, the state governments in India government still levies whole chickpea export and the Government of India continues to set minimum price for chickpea and limit the volume of chickpea exports. These policy reforms are likely to impact on world chickpea trade. This study provides an overview of chickpea marketing in order to assess the potential problems and opportunities for increasing chickpea exports to India. The survey results suggest possible opportunities for expanding chickpea exports to India. It was found that the factors reshaping chickpea trade are the quality characteristics and purity standards of chickpea, government macroeconomic policy and chickpea supply and demand dynamics. The policy implications of the findings for Australia are discussed.

The Agri-food sector in Australia; Where is it going? Some thoughts on the future of the sector.

David Ginns
Executive Director, Agribusiness Association of Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Paper 54, June 11th 2002
PDF Version 98 Kb


This paper is an exploration of where the Australian agri-food sector may be headed (from a macro perspective). The paper discusses three critical factors - finance, natural resource management and agri-biotechnology - that will have the largest influence on the way the sector will develop over the medium to long term.
The paper is not a political manifesto and was written to promote discussion and critical thinking and to encourage others in the industry to voice their opinions about the future direction of their industry.

Building an internationally competitive Australian olive industry: lessons from the wine industry

Kym Anderson

School of Economics and Centre for International Economic Studies
University of Adelaide, Adelaide SA 5005, Australia

Paper 54/2, November 2002

Why did it take 100 years to fulfil the promise seen for Australia’s wine industry in the late 19th century, and how much longer will it take for our olive industry to do likewise? With these questions in mind, this paper first notes the similarities and differences between Australia’s wine and olive industries. It then summarizes the four previous boom/bust cycles in the wine industry, examines the extent to which the current boom is different, and then highlights the steps the wine industry is taking to sustain its recent growth. With that as background, the paper finishes by drawing lessons from that case study for the rapidly expanding Australian olive industry.   

An early version of these ideas appear in Anderson (2000a,b).



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