AH11020 - Opportunities for Australian horticulture in the Carbon Farming Initiative
The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary agricultural carbon offset scheme thatcomplements the Government’s Clean Energy Future plan. Under the CFI, farmers andlandowners can earn carbon credits through projects that reduce emissions of greenhousegases, or that sequester carbon in the environment.The CFI scheme provides a single framework that covers offset projects and markets,simplifying the process for farmers and landowners. It is a voluntary scheme implemented toprovide an incentive for agricultural businesses to reduce emissions or increase carbonsinks by offering economic rewards.CFI projects must be based on approved methodologies that provide detailed descriptions ofeligible activities, and rules for implementation and monitoring of the abatement activities.The potential for the horticultural sector to participate in the CFI is considered to beconsiderably lower than that for other agricultural businesses. Horticulture is characterisedby intensive production of high value products on small land areas compared to otheragricultural businesses. The most promising type of CFI project seems to be mitigation ofnitrous oxide emissions from improved fertiliser management. However, projects such asreforestation, revegetation and carbon soil sequestration may also provide opportunities forsome growers. Environmental plantings could be used as windbreaks or visual screens andthereby provide additional benefits to the farm.Uncertainties about the carbon market, the level of demand for credits, and realisticabatement and sequestration potentials make it difficult to estimate the actual economicpotential for horticulture at this time. However, all of the available information suggests thatthe income potential for horticultural producers will be limited.