Prioritising climate change

Working hard to lessen the risk of climate change


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Growcom is working with National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility to help growers lessen the risk of climate change in production horticulture.

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Growcom is working with the federal agency, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), to assist in refining a coastal climate risk management tool, called CoastAdapt.

The aim of the tool is to provide practical guidance on how to manage the risk from climate change and sea-level rise, together with the associated physical, social and economic risks.

Last week Growcom’s Climate and Resilience Coordinator, Lene Knudsen, attended the NCCARF/CSIRO Climate Adaptation conference in Adelaide to support these organisations in promoting CoastAdapt.

While the target audience for the tool is primarily planners and decision-makers within local councils, Growcom has been involved to ensure that the production horticulture industry can also benefit from the tool, by including important information about coastal risks and hazards.

Our brief has included the preparation of a case study of risk management in the agricultural sector. We chose to highlight the work of Chris and Lynn Jahnke of Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd whose cocoa growing and chocolate making business, Charley’s Chocolate Factory (www.charleys.com.au), is situated near the township of Mission Beach.

In this region of tropical north  Queensland the question is not ‘if’ there will be another cyclone but ‘when’.  The strategies which the Jahnkes have put in place to help deal with this eventuality and associated destruction can be viewed on the NCCARF website: http://bit.ly/29rxYcN

The final version of the CoastAdapt is expected to be delivered at the end of February next year.

CoastAdapt is only one of the climate change projects Growcom is currently involved in, recognising that production horticulture is one of the agricultural industries under the most stress and pressure from a changing climate. Many fruit and vegetable commodities are vulnerable to rising temperatures, changed rainfall patterns and the increased risk of devastating extreme weather events.

For 10 years Growcom has played a leadership role in managing climate change in our industry:

  • developing techniques and tools for the rapid assessment of climate risk for agricultural industries
  • identifying suitable adaptation strategies to minimise climate risk and maximise opportunities for a range of commodities, and
  • assessing the impacts and opportunities of climate policies on horticulture.

One example is Growcom’s Hort360 Best Management Practice program, which provides a structured risk-based management approach to on-farm decision-making. This aims to assist horticulture growers to manage risks to the sustainability, growth and durability of their business, including climate change risk. Recently, Growcom secured funding to develop a specific module for climate risk to sharpen growers’ focus on climate change impacts and longer term adaptation strategies. 

The story Prioritising climate change first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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