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Drip Feed Technology in Arid and Semi Arid Areas

Executive Summary

Considering the literature assessments and analyses of the Queensland agricultural expansion into arid and semi arid areas, various key aspects have been developed to establish the viability of the project. Due to its efficiency in water conservation and high agricultural yield, the prospective project would be of great significance as a means of boosting the economy of the Queensland. In this segment of the write up, various strategic approaches and interventions are established as models for reinforcing the acceptability, viability as well as the economic impact of the project. Water conservation is regarded among the most important means of alleviating the adverse effects of the changes in climate. Hence, many countries are rapidly moving in to tap the agricultural potentials that lie in the underutilized arid and semi arid areas (Keller & Bliesner 1990, 501).

Strategic Response

This strategic response emphasizes the need for enhanced implementation of the drip feed technology in promoting improved agricultural productivity in the Arid and Semi Arid areas in Queensland. From the business case, the drip-feed technology has tremendous benefits on solution of water needs in the rapidly growing population of Queensland (Sousa 1999, 346). Ideally, it is a smart focus in addressing water concerns within the significantly environment. Climatic changes alongside other negative factors exerting pressure on the environment contributes enormously on the water scarcity. As reiterated by Marasani et al (2012) modern technologies of water conserving irrigation methods are fundamental models in efficiently using the limited water resource while increasing on the productivity of agricultural outputs. In farming, drip feed irrigation allows a timely preparation for land/ soil, decrease tillage requirements, fertilize and herbicide application efficiency, increase crop yields, product quality and decreases pest infestation and stresses. Australia has lived to be quite rigid in terms of maintaining the environment (Agrawal & Perrin 2008, 83).

Drip feed technology is a resultant factor of favorable soil water content due to the slow and frequent penetration of water into the soil. This way it promotes yield in agricultural productions and significantly boost the economy (Allen 1990, 27). Adoption of this technology clearly favors the regional economic output. Essentially, studies have revealed escalated benefits in the net annual benefits in the economy with a turnover of U.S. $13.1 per dollar spent in the advancement of the technology and very high levels of water saving. This technology has led to a 52% decrease in the water consumption per hectare. This reflects a substantial cost recovery and excellent returns on investments. There is need for the realignment of regulations as well as incentives in this program within the agricultural sector (Sousa 1999, 346). In respect there is a cognizable consideration to the Queensland government efforts in investing intensely in water security strategies by establishing water bases including the South East Queensland Water Grid, Provincial Water Supply techniques, Water protection measures, Water collection and Water reuse and desalination plants. These are clear indications of the validity of the project having received significant attention from the public and the government of Queensland. Drip feed technology is a justified venture in this development of Australia’s agricultural sector in Arid and Semi Arid areas as well as other areas across the globe. With these considerations, it is assumed that the project has the full support of the Queensland government. Hence, development of the strategic response would incorporate the use of various models (Adger, et al., 2005, 79).

Strategic Interventions

In order to improve the implementation and productivity of the drip feed technology various strategic interventions need to be taken into consideration. Relevant resources ought to be established and set strategically for the execution of the said strategic interventions. These interventions include;

Improving on regulations

Licensing and other irrigation installation regulatory policies need to be adjusted to accommodate a wider scope of provisions that restrict on extensive irrigation technologies but encourage drip feed. This would promote access to farming in the arid and semi arid lands as well as enhance water conservation. Due to the efficiency in productivity and water conservation, drip feed technology would be the most appropriate model to employ for a wider area of farming. The yield from drip feed in this case would significantly reflect on the economy’s GDP through the high returns on investment from the farms (Watson, et al., 1998).

Promoting trade, Investment and Competition

The Queensland government through introduction of incentives and subsidies for this form of irrigation activities should enhance the individual and corporate access to the arid areas of this region to indulge in the irrigation farming activities. In addition, the government should solicit for donations and partnerships from Non Governmental Organizations as well as other interested stakeholders. This would enhance development of infrastructure in the arid and semi arid areas with banks, schools, and even settlement schemes moving into these areas. In turn, it would promote increase in the national per capita income and equitable regional development of the Queensland (Lamm, et al., 2012, 486)

Fostering Innovation

Introduction of innovative approaches in this program would promote a more advanced and methods of crop production process, introduction of a wider range of the crops produced in the farms and thus improve significantly to the levels of income from these innovative ideas. Through fostering innovation, the use of technological models of marketing would be introduced in the production, processing and marketing process. This would improve on the quality and quantity of production as well as enhance widening of the market scope to capture the potential global market. Innovation would introduce advanced methods of growth and development of the agricultural sector in the arid and semi arid areas (Tilley, et al., 2008).

Promoting employment and Social inclusion

The Queensland government should promote job creation in these farms by introducing of government-based fund for the youth and women from various social backgrounds and classes to build an all-inclusive project that benefits every member of the larger Queensland community. These funds should be issued in form of facilities and equipment for use in the farming processes. This will ensure that funds allocated to the project are utilized in this project efficiently. Unutilized pieces of land should be categorically allocated to the social organizations such as community based projects to use as income generating projects for the sustainability of their respective projects as well as promote tax contribution in the national development. This initiative would help create more employment opportunities and help alleviate the creeping levels of unemployment and poverty across the entire population in Queensland.

Providing adequate education

Educating the society on the benefits of the drip feed technology as a model for income generation would play a major role in mobilizing participation in faming of these areas. Mobilization and civic education strategies such as the use of media, posters, brochures and discussion forums among other modes of imparting the knowledge among members of the Queensland society are effective methods of creating more awareness over the programs hence promoting the level of participation in the same. Effective education would improve on individual and collective participation thus increase the rate of development of this strategic approach towards development of the region (FAO, Eds, 1997).

Developing Policies for Sustainable Growth

Laid down policies should be well defined to the future prospects, scopes of development, and strategic plans among other development definitions. These policies should enlighten investors on the strategies in place to take care of risks, manage levels of growth and regulate entry and exit in the sector to create a balance in the market structure. These policies would be helpful in determining the most appropriate methods to use in these projects providing room for the adjustments, hedging and subsequent establishment of larger investments. In this respect, the economy of Queensland as well as the food security within the nation would be greatly improved (Verge, X. P. et al., 2007, 256).

Strategic Options

In this segment, the use of creative alternatives that are action oriented and account for the threats, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses within the external and internal business environment of the prospective project.

The identified strategic options in this respect can be summarized using the Strategic Options Matrix as follows;

Strategic InterventionsStrategic Options
Option 1Option 2Option 3Option 4Option 5Option 6
Promote access to farming in the arid and semi arid lands as well as enhance water conservationEnhance development of infrastructure in the arid and semi arid areas with banks, schools and even settlement schemes moving into these areasImprove on the quality and quantity of production as well as enhance widening of the market scope to capture the potential global market.Create more employment opportunities and help alleviate the creeping levels of unemployment and poverty across the entire QueenslandImprove on individual and collective participation thus increase the rate of development of this strategic approach towards development of the region.  Help in determining the most appropriate methods to use in these projects providing room for the adjustments, hedging and subsequent establishment of larger investment. (Sousa 1999, 346).
Improving on regulations      
Promoting trade, Investment and Competition      
Fostering Innovation      
Promoting employment and Social inclusion      
Providing adequate education      
Developing Policies for Sustainable Growth      
       

Ranking of Strategic Options

These strategic interventions comprise various intensities of benefit and success in this development model. In order of appreciation, providing adequate education would be ranked the number one priority in the establishment of the project. Information would build appreciation of the project and create the urge of involvement by a wider group of individuals (Stoorvogel et al., 2004, 53). Through increased information, the government can move with ease of formulating acceptable policies regarding the said project in consideration with the response of the larger society on the information disseminated. Cost wise, information dissemination is relatively cheaper as compared to the rest of the implementation strategies. Operational costs are quite manageable and there are minimal risks involved. Information compounds into significant benefits, as the information is the groundbreaker for the planning and eventual implementation of the actual project. This would address one of the identified strengths of the Australian economy of a wider uninformed, potential investment opportunity in the region (Stoorvogel et al., 2004, 53).

Promoting trade, investment, and competition would follow in order of prioritizing the interventions. It involves government involvements in provision of incentives and subsidies to promote individual and corporate investments in the project (Sousa 1999, 346). This intervention is quite objective since it is project-specific and focuses on an ideal approach appreciable by the larger population. This however, could involve relatively higher costs of acquisition of the equipment, provision of the incentive and the subsidies mostly at the initial stages of the project initiation. On the other hand, upon successful launch of the projects through this model, a larger number of participant would indulge in the drip feed irrigation farming thus widen the agricultural sector in the arid and semi arid lands of the Queensland. Essentially, these interventions are the larger players of these development projects at the initial stages. The government strategy would promote tapping of these idle lands and transform them into large enterprises of income generating activities (Stoorvogel et al., 2004, 53).

Another supporting strategy is fostering innovation. Project participants should explore and implement innovative ways of utilizing idle land resources and maximize returns. With rapidly growing online platform and other innovative technologies, most economies around the world are moving swiftly to align their investment programs with the trends. In the actual sense, innovation introduces a wide range of skills in the production and business environment creating more developments, improved quality, and quantity of productions within a shorter span of time. By tapping the globalized business front, the project would serve a large population, using modernized modes of production and marketing and promote increments in the economic benefits of the country. Innovations build skills and standardization of the products hence invigorates products acceptability across the larger universal society. However, costs involved in tapping these innovative approaches are quite high and their development could take much longer time to be effective. Innovative initiatives once started, are implemented on continuous basis, and regularly updated to match the trending forms of technological advancements across the globalized market (United Nations, 2000).

Developing policies, adjustment of the existing regulations and promotion of employment and societal involvement are other continuous procedures implemented in the process. These cost much less but contribute enormously to the growth of the agricultural sector especially under irrigation in the arid and semi arid areas. Their cost and benefits are quite significant regardless of the intangible display of effects on the growth that they exhibit within the process (Bandaru, & Stewart, et al., 2006, 1011).

Recommended Strategic option

The most preferable is the improvement of infrastructure in the arid and semi arid lands. These are the most attractive facilities in the economy that many individuals regard of the most relevance in economic development. By developing the infrastructure, many individuals would prefer moving into the regions for development purposes (Stoorvogel et al., 2004, 53). Agricultural produce would have ease of movement in and out of these lands creating viability of the projects on economic development. Such developments can only be achieved by government interventions prioritizing on the areas for development. This option, however expensive it may be, has long term cost benefits since the developments would remain for a long period and would create room for building other forms of infrastructure as well. Essentially, with adequate resources and infrastructure, risks involved in development projects such as the extension of farming into the remote areas are well taken care of and their management strategies formulated effectively (Stoorvogel et al., 2004, 53).

Project Option Analysis

Project options are identified based on their eventual outcome, acceptability to the society and the cost incurred in the implementation of the same. The balance between cost of implementation and cost benefits in this sense are of crucial importance in consideration of the most appropriate project options. In this respect, the strategic interventions are categorized into separate segments (Sousa 1999, 346). As discussed earlier, these interventions have varied cost benefits and contribution levels to the establishment of the project of study (Sousa, 1999, 346). As listed above, these interventions would require different resource allocations and output options or even both. Improving on regulations would require government based approach to evaluate the laid don policies and establish the most appropriate models of improving. This might incorporate formulation of committees or tribunals to evaluate adjust and constitute the best policies. Market trends and prices would be relevant in this regard to establish the pros and the cons attached t any adjustments made on the policy. Constraints in this intervention are in most cased financial inclined. Inadequate resources may be a hindering factor in the implementation process of this intervention (Eakin & Luers 2006, 57).

Just like in the improving of regulations, Fostering Innovation, Promoting trade, Investment and Competition, Promoting employment and Social inclusion, providing adequate education and Developing Policies for Sustainable Growth, as discussed in the strategic interventions above are all relatively involving intervention processes, their scope of implementation are profound and require extensive studies,  other resources and time. The only constraints that are likely to be exhibited in these interventions are societal concerns apart from the financial point of view (Sousa 1999, 346). Stakeholders in every segment of these strategic interventions are identified with regard to their contributions in line with the specific strategic option. These stakeholders in most cases will comprise financial aid agencies, other government agencies, and individual contributors playing vital roles in the establishment of project especially in financing various sections of the projects (Sousa 1999, 346).

Success of this project would influence positively the society through creation of population units of diverse background, employment opportunities, and foster peace and stability of the entire region. Apart from the government-based interventions such as the policy formulations, the other interventions would have direct impact on the society. For instance, innovation would improve on the skills of several individuals within the society thus create novel waves of ideologies and other forms of intervention in the larger business environment. Creation of a diversified population within the areas of operation, through the government promotions, may lead to increased intermarriages, increased population growth, and growth of households among other socioeconomic effects of the development project (Adger, et al., 2005, 79).

Environmentally, such developments would improve on environmental conservation, retention of a majority of water resources and preservation of the indigenous plantations in other areas. By having irrigated plantations in the arid and semi arid areas, there would be a more diverse and increased environmental regeneration in the midst of the climate change effects (Sousa 1999, 346). The government and all environmental stakeholders would need to intensify environmental based education and policy formulation to promote the legislative regulations regarding the environment (McGuckian 2002). In this respect, the project would result into extremely high economic output. The significantly high return on investment established would double or even triple with effect to the regulations as well as the interventions. Apart from the high return on investments, the project would result in increased employment rate hence improved workforce participation, high level of productivity and value added productivity from the improved quality of the products due to innovative interventions (McGuckian 2002).

The most prominent challenge in the structuring of risk management instruments either through the private sector or within the government is the aspect defined by economic experts as information irregularity. In simpler terms, despite the farmers having full information and better positions of assessing their risk factors, the government and the private sectors do not get the same class of information (McGuckian 2002 ).

Risks involved in the drip feed technology and the general development of the project can be categorized as follows;

RiskRisk Management Strategy
Supply Chain risks; these are risks largely concerned with the flow of the commodities finances and information across the entire market structure from the production process to the consumption. In a poorly developed supply chain, numerous losses can be incurred especially with the perishable goods.Efficient risk management
commonly entails interconnection among various fundamental factors of the supply chain as well as high level of flexibility.
The financial risks that farmers experience are as a result of rates and accessibility of capital to finance arrears and expand businesses. The capital insufficiency is due to unstable financial institutions and weak connections to the capital markets as well as the globalized financiersGovernment interventions including provision of incentive and subsidies would help alleviate the extents of the risks. The project would require close supervision of the government and other authorities to monitor on progress thus manage any possible shortfalls before occurrence.

Conclusion

Agriculture in the arid and semi arid areas is a viable project of great agricultural production. The only means possible for exploring the full potential of the economic benefits derived from these regions is through the drip feed technology irrigation. It conserves a substantial amount of water utilized for irrigation and in turn enhances high agricultural yields. There are more economic benefits of this project than the risks involved. However, there is need to conduct thorough studies on several other issues surrounding this venture to demonstrate the relevant strategies, interventions and options for the sustainability, growth and development. In the actual sense, agricultural expansions into these regions are of great economic value creating higher production levels, increased job opportunities, and value added productions resulting from the innovative, time bound and large-scale productions. The government’s support plays a major role in the implementation, success, and sustainability of this project. However, it is prudent to note that in spite of the government performance and contributions in this venture, the entire population should take part in developing systems that will contribute enormously in this development. Societal acceptance and appreciation play such a vital role in the implementation and success of the said project.

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