Australia is to enact a new law banning agricultural marketing to boost yields and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite a warning that the measure is “a crime against the environment”.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department will now require farmers to have a “no marketing” sign at their sites, and to have the fence “separate from the land”, to prevent farmers from using the fences to farm other land.
The measure, which comes into effect from 1 October, will also force farmers to use “zero-emission” fencing on their farm, and make sure that any “commercial activity” on their land does not involve “commercial activities in agriculture”.
A number of states have already introduced similar measures, including Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
In a statement, Agriculture Minister Andrew Robb said that the measures were needed to ensure farmers are protected from “the environmental damage caused by the introduction of the ‘Agricultural Marketing Act’ and the threat of the act to our state’s agriculture sector”.
“Australia is a global leader in sustainable agricultural production and this is why we are taking a tough stance against the misuse of agricultural marketing and other measures that are inconsistent with Australian values,” Mr Robb said.
“Agriculums should be about producing food that is both nutritious and environmentally friendly, not about farming the most environmentally damaging and inefficient ways possible.”
The agribusiness industry has a lot to learn from Australia and the Australian government.
It is clear the time has come for Australia to take action against this misuse of the Agricultural Marketing Act.
“Australia’s commitment to protecting and supporting the agribusital sector is very strong, and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure this law is effective.”
The government has already passed laws to ban the importation of foreign seed and the use of synthetic fertilisers, and it is considering a number of other measures to tackle greenhouse gas emission.
The Australian Food and Agricultural Product Authority said the move was necessary because “there is no doubt that there is a growing concern in Australia about the impact of the introduction and abuse of the Agricultural Sales Act”.
“Agribusies have an important role to play in the Australian economy and our environmental policies, but this is not enough to protect our environment,” the authority said in a statement.
AgribuServe Australia, which is an industry member of the Australian Food Standards Agency, has already been in direct contact with the government to seek clarification and feedback on the current laws, and is now looking to engage in a further dialogue with them to ensure our industry has the support it needs to continue to grow.”