An engaged farming sector could tip the odds in Australia’s favour when it comes to meeting carbon emission targets, according to new AgriFutures Australia commissioned research. The report, carried out by Australian National University and the Mullion Group, and funded by AgriFutures Australia, shows current policy and regulatory framework for carbon markets is proving a significant barrier. AgriFutures Australia Managing Director John Harvey, said “this report indicates carbon markets are shaping up as the incentive for Australian farming industries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a trading environment. Reducing uptake barriers for primary producers may be key to more consistent farmer participation in carbon offset markets.” He noted the report pointed to low carbon prices and price uncertainty, high transaction costs, lack of information,  and concerns about changes in the rules that govern participation and crediting, as key issues reducing farmer engagement in carbon markets.

AgriFutures Australia, Senior Manager of Business Development Jennifer Medway said “communicating the benefits to producers and simplifying market instruments is critical to enable Australia’s agriculture sector to capitalise on carbon offset opportunities and support Australia’s international commitment to reducing emissions,” said Medway.

Harvey acknowledged the sectors leadership in addressing the carbon challenge. “The red meat sector recently announced a bold target to be carbon neutral by 2030. Similarly, the National Farmers’ Federation is taking a progressive stance in setting a vision through its 2030 Roadmap for the whole sector to be trending towards carbon neutrality by 2030.”

The Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is the nation’s primary carbon market and allows landholders to generate Australian carbon credit units (ACCU) by sequestering carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These credits can be on-sold to companies required to offset carbon producing projects. Agriculture has dominated ERF to date, with 70 per cent of registered projects relating to agriculture, but uptake from the sector is inconsistent.

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