University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072 Australia

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Study Horticulture

Horticulture & Agriculture

Alan Wearing University of Queensland


Sustainable development of the planet and the ways we feed and clothe the population are major issues facing today's world. We require expertise in food and fibre production, food technology, sustainable management of natural resources, the welfare of native and domestic animals, and the way in which we use the natural environment in leisure and recreational activities. 

Agriculture and horticulture specialists will face some of the greatest challenges in the 21st century. They will need to assist in the provision of food and fibre products for a rapidly growing population - products that are needed for a quality life while maintaining a healthy planet. This will be an exciting time for these people as they face the problems associated with achieving these objectives. 

Australia is well-placed to provide education and training in all areas of agriculture and horticulture. Very extensive agricultural and horticultural industries have developed in Australia since the early days of settlement. People involved in the industries have adapted to a wide range of climatic and other environmental conditions. This adaptation is underpinned with world-class research and education carried out by dedicated scientists and educators. Much of what has been learnt in Australia can be applied to other countries throughout the world, and Australia in turn has learnt much from other countries. 

Considerable changes are occurring in agriculture and horticulture. No longer  can operators of farming enterprises : see their contribution as a 'way of  life'. They must operate their enterprises as businesses, becoming aware of competition and adapting accordingly. Globalisation in these sectors has become important as Australian producers look to other parts of the world to export their products. They must also be aware of the desires and demands of other sections of the population. As countries develop and more people become educated, the attentions of those people are turned towards 'quality of life' issues - which includes the quality of the food they eat. 

For instance, demands are developing for 'clean and green' produce. Consumers demand to know what pesticides and other chemicals have been used to produce their food. Scientists and educators have responded by developing alternative ways of managing pests and diseases in agricultural and horticultural products, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). There is also a strong and sustained interest in organic farming, and the welfare of animals in intensive production enterprises. These issues are matched by the development of quality assurance programs for the production of agricultural and horticultural products. It is now possible to track a product from the field where it was grown to the consumer's dinner plate, and know how the product was treated from planting to sale. The attention of communities has also been directed towards preservation of the natural environment, and those involved in agriculture and horticulture can play an important part in these contemporary issues. Land degradation in  Australia is being addressed by Landcare organisations interested in re-vegetation and halting the loss of valuable topsoil in farming areas. The quantity and quality of water available for farming and, for that matter, urban populations throughout the world, is an important issue. Water is a scarce resource in Australia, the continent being one of the driest in the world. Management of our water resources is paramount. to the success of agricultural and horticultural enterprises. Australia is playing an important part in determining the most efficient ways of using this resource. Issues such , as salinity and water reuse are being confronted, and cooperation from users to policy-makers is being sought. 

Students looking at Australia to further their education in the agricultural and horticultural sectors can be assured that universities with these areas in their educational profile will provide them with a world class education suitable for the new Millennium.


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