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Horticulture Growers’ perspectives on natural resource management issues, lessons for engagement.

Terrence Campbell1, Peter Hockings2 and John Bagshaw3

1 Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Bundaberg Research Station, 49 Ashfield Rd Bundaberg Q 4670 Email

2 Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Bundaberg Research Station, 49 Ashfield Rd Bundaberg Q 4670 Email
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 80 Meiers Rd Indooroopilly Q 4077


A horticulture project team used a series of convergent interviews and facilitated expert panels to engage horticulture managers in identifying environmental risks in horticulture production systems in the dry tropics and to identify better practices and monitoring tools.

This process identified what is important to horticulture growers now and what is likely to become important in the future. While natural resource management issues are not a high current priority, issues of water quality leaving the farm, pesticide drift, water use efficiency, soil health and water quality entering the farm were identified as the future environmental risks.

Motivators for change were identified for three target groups: Very large farms would be motivated to avoid disruptions to their businesses due to government regulations or environmental incident. The majority of enterprises are motivated to improve profit and efficiency through better management of inputs. A small innovative group are sensitive to the environmental impacts of their farming systems. Each group would respond to different approaches to improve NRM outcomes.

All groups reported little confidence in current information sources on NRM in the public and private sector. The exception was the rural water use efficiency program and a similar approach using case studies, monitoring tools and targeted information packages and financial incentives will assist land managers reach NRM targets.

The results from this study are being used to engage horticulture managers in the Burnett catchment and the results would be useful for engagement in other projects. A major opportunity is for NRM service providers to improve collaboration as the project team identified that current disjointed approach was limiting outcomes.

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