Environmental Assessment of the Vegetable Industry (VG13057)
What was it all about?
This project, carried out in 2015, looked at how well growers and the vegetable industry as a whole perform in the area of environmental management, and also sought to identify any areas where improvements can be made while maintaining viability.
Specifically, the project aimed to:
- Inform vegetable growers nationally of the environmental performance of the sector
- Provide a baseline for subsequent assessments in the future
- Inform future strategic industry investments
- Provide stakeholders and the public with an understanding of how well the industry performs and of how this changes over time.
The researchers began by developing a framework for assessing environmental performance, which covered environmental stewardship, environmental assurance and resource use efficiency.
They ensured that it aligned with EnviroVeg themes and objectives. In addition, the team identified environmental assets of particular importance in vegetable growing regions.
Indicators were developed that would provide data in the short, medium and long term. It covers aspects including managing energy use, waste, and native habitat, minimising chemical use and practicing good farm hygiene.
The team then used the framework to assess the vegetable industry’s performance in 2015 based on data from the Land Management and Farming in Australia Survey carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Data was not available for all of the indicators that the framework designates.
The industry was found to perform well at managing:
- Water use and waterways
- Soil and nutrients, measured by organic carbon
- Air quality, measured by greenhouse gas and nitrous oxide emissions
- Electricity use.
The industry needs to improve in the areas of biodiversity management, measured by the area and condition of native vegetation, and use of fuel, oil and grease.
The project generated detailed findings of how the industry rates as well as case studies of how improvements have been made.
In addition to the 2015 assessment, the work has revealed where there are gaps in data that would allow a more comprehensive assessment, and has established a framework that can be used for monitoring performance in years to come.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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