AgForce has welcomed endorsement by the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Federal Government that the concept of ‘natural capital’ offers a way to improve both environmental outcomes and farm profitability.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the current approach of regulating and penalising primary producers to achieve environmental outcomes had proven unsuccessful – even counter-productive – and overlooked the enormous potential of a collaborative, voluntary approach based on payment for ecosystem services.
Mr Guerin applauded the contribution of the NFF’s ‘A Return to Nature’ report, launched this morning, to work undertaken by AgForce, Aboriginal Carbon Foundation (AbCF) and others to develop a natural capital approach.
“Primary producers are custodians of the majority of Australia’s landmass – history has shown that better environmental outcomes will not be achieved without their active collaboration,” he said.
“To date, the standard approach has been to legislate primary producers to manage these landscapes on behalf of the community and penalise them if they fail to meet what are often arbitrary and ineffective regulations.
“History has shown that this approach does not improve environmental outcomes, in large part because it enforces a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to take into account Australia’s variety of landscapes and the full suite of management techniques available to farmers.
“Enter natural capital, a concept based on rewarding farmers for creating positive environmental outcomes such as removing carbon from the atmosphere, maintaining natural landscapes, preserving native flora and fauna, and reducing water usage.
“It recognises that the land can provide more than just food and fibre, and provides additional revenue streams for producers, which would assist them survive through tough times such as the current record drought.”
Developing a commercially viable and sustainable natural capital program is a centrepiece of AgForce’s Stand Up for Regional Queensland campaign.
AgForce recently collaborated with the AbCF on a research paper published in the respected Farm Policy Journal that outlined the pre-requisites required to establish a viable, sustainable capital market in Australia.
“The AbCF has been a passionate advocate for many years of the environmental, social and cultural values of carbon farming and we are pleased to have AgForce on board,” CEO Rowan Foley said
“The collaboration synergises the unique knowledge of two groups who have a long connection with the land – Traditional Owners and non-Aboriginal carbon farmers – to deliver environmental benefits and offer wealth-creating opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Australia.
“Traditional Owners have been successfully and sustainably managing their landscapes for at least 65,000 years.
“We believe our unique knowledge and skills are not just useful but essential to any genuine, sustainable environmental solution and that is why we actively partner with a range of organisations from across the Indigenous, government, not-for-profit, environment, education and Indigenous sectors.