Opportunities for Australian horticulture in the Carbon Farming Initiative (AH11020)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) was a voluntary agricultural carbon offset scheme that complemented the Government’s Clean Energy Future plan. Under the CFI, farmers and landowners could earn carbon credits through projects that reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, or that sequester carbon in the environment.
The CFI scheme provided a single framework that covered offset projects and markets, simplifying the process for farmers and landowners. It was a voluntary scheme implemented to provide an incentive for agricultural businesses to reduce emissions or increase carbon sinks by offering economic rewards.
CFI projects needed to be based on approved methodologies that provided detailed descriptions of eligible activities, and rules for implementation and monitoring of the abatement activities.
The potential for the horticultural sector to participate in the CFI was considered to be considerably lower than that for other agricultural businesses. Horticulture was characterised by intensive production of high value products on small land areas compared to other agricultural businesses. The most promising type of CFI project seemed to be mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from improved fertiliser management. However, projects such as reforestation, revegetation and carbon soil sequestration may have also provided opportunities for some growers. Environmental plantings could be used as windbreaks or visual screens and thereby provided additional benefits to the farm.
Uncertainties about the carbon market, the level of demand for credits, and realistic abatement and sequestration potentials made it difficult to estimate the actual economic potential for horticulture at this time. However, all of the available information suggested that the income potential for horticultural producers would be limited.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited).
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