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KPMG and NFF reveal opportunities to unlock new income for farmers

Opportunities to unlock new income for farmers

Agriculture Minister launches new sustainable finance mechanisms for Australian farmers.

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KPMG Australia (KPMG) and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) today released research showing new opportunities for farmers to unlock the value of natural capital, such as the land and ecosystems that underpin farm production. The new sustainable finance mechanisms could unlock billions in additional farm income.

The report shows an immediate opportunity to implement sustainable finance instruments in the agricultural sector to provide incentives and rewards to farmers and other landholders for improved environmental outcomes.

Key recommendations

  • Implement the $30 million Pilot Agricultural Stewardship Program.
  • Establish a $1 billion National Biodiversity Conservation Trust.
  • Development of a National Natural Capital Policy and Government established standards and trading structures.

NFF President, Fiona Simson said the research acknowledged the critical role farmers play in caring for the environment.

“Farmers have always been frontline stewards of Australia’s environment, managing 51 percent of our continent’s land mass.

“Unfortunately, efforts to incentivise and reward environmental practices historically have been short-term, or based on ad-hoc grants and programs. They have also been interfered with through complex and poorly understood regulatory requirements.”

“We need a comprehensive approach that delivers the right incentives, and the right outcomes for farmers and the environment,” Ms Simson said.

Ms Simson said the NFF’s vision of generating $5 billion in farm gate income from environmental services related to natural capital was within reach if the appropriate steps were taken.

“We need a comprehensive approach that delivers the right incentives, and the right outcomes for farmers and the environment.”

Robert Poole, KPMG National Food and Agribusiness Lead Partner, said the tools were available to make this happen.

“There is an increasing opportunity to provide enhanced and new investment vehicles to the market that deliver ongoing financial incentives and rewards to farmers for improving environmental outcomes.”

“Through newly constructed financial instruments, such as green bonds and pay for outcome funds, we can provide investable agricultural options for institutional investors, government, industry and philanthropists directed towards improving the environment and delivering social finance options for the market.

“These options provide a return for the community, environment, investors, farming sector and society at large.”

“With agriculture facing a $160 billion capital shortfall to fund its growth ambitions, accessing these new or refined sources of investment could not be more critical and provide sustainable ways to deliver returns,” Mr Poole said.

Fiona Simson acknowledged preliminary moves by government to unlock this potential.

“We welcome today’s commitment by Minister McKenzie to direct funding, through the NFF, towards exploring the mechanisms needed for farmers to earn increased returns from their natural resource management efforts.

“The Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme Trial will explore options for farmers to be rewarded if their production system is verified as achieving high environmental standards.

“As the peak body for Australian agriculture, representing almost all commodities and state and territories, the NFF is positioned to lead this important project.

“We’ve also seen the Federal Government commit $30 million to pilot an Agricultural Stewardship Program in the coming years. But in order to be transformational, this pilot must pave the way for the $1 billion fund as recommended by the recent Craik Review of the interactions between agriculture and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” she said.

“We look forward to working closely with government on the next phase of this important work,” Ms Simson said.

For further information

Sarah Belin
KPMG
+61 408 195 368
sbelin@kpmg.com.au

Laureta Wallace
National Farmers Federation (NFF)
+61 408 448 250
LWallace@nff.org.au
 

© 2020 KPMG, an Australian partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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