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Title: Socio-Economic Scoping Study
Authors: Reeve, Ian
Keywords: strategic plan
global competitive pressures
socio-economic impacts
availability of irrigation water
broader changes in community aspirations
non-farm economy
profitability and competitiveness
people and communities
productivity growth
Issue Date: 30-Jun-2003
Publisher: University of New England
Series/Report no.: ;CRDC226C
Abstract: The 1998-2003 strategic plan of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) set research goals in three main areas: (i) sustainability, (ii) profitability and competitiveness and (iii) people and communities. This study contributes to the last of these areas by developing a framework for monitoring the socio-economic impacts of the cotton industry on people and communities in the cotton growing regions. The specific aims of the study are to: 1. identify long term trends in the cotton industry that are likely to show socio-economic impacts in the cotton growing regions, 2. identify the main linkages between the cotton industry and the regional economies in the cotton growing regions, 3. gain an appreciation of the socio-economic impacts that are currently being experienced in the cotton growing regions due to changes in the industry, and 4. identify the important socio-economic impacts that the industry will need to monitor in the medium term, and propose appropriate socio-economic indicators to do this. Pressures on the Industry The cotton industry faces global competitive pressures as do many other primary industries. Within Australia, cotton production appears to be stabilising in some regions, such as the Gwydir and Namoi valleys, while it continues to increase in others. Cotton research and development has played an important role in the introduction of new transgenic cotton varieties, the steady increases in yields and the improvements in management that are underpinning productivity growth. Management is becoming more knowledge-intensive, while the demand for spraying and chipping services is decreasing. The availability of irrigation water will remain an important issue for the industry. Growers have already made significant adjustments to improve water efficiency and this can be expected to continue in the medium term. The economic and social changes occurring within regional economies and communities can no longer be understood solely in terms of the changes occurring in primary industries. This means that care has to be taken in identifying changes attributable to the cotton industry. The causes of these changes are clearest where cotton dominates agricultural production and the size of the non-farm economy is relatively small. In other areas, broader changes in community aspirations, retailing and transport may result in social and economic impacts that outweigh any effects of the cotton industry. Compared to most other agricultural industries, however, the cotton industry with its input and knowledge intensiveness and local processing is more likely to have impacts on regional economies. The report provides a detailed description of a series of surveys and reviews, supported by basic research, through which indicators in the areas above can be regularly measured.
Appears in Collections:2003 Final Reports

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