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Peter Wren-Hilton

New technology will support NZ farmers create their own emissions pricing and testing regime

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Last week, the Government announced plans to make New Zealand the first nation in the world to fully fold agriculture into an emissions pricing scheme, with a comprehensive price on greenhouse gases introduced by 2025.

It will do this by accepting a proposal from leading farming organisations, including Dairy NZ and Beef & Lamb New Zealand, to give them the next five years to develop a farm-level pricing mechanism separate from New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Farmers will pay no additional levies or charges in the meantime. If this new scheme is not established however, agriculture will be folded into the ETS by default in 2025.

In short, the ball is now firmly in our farmers court.

Agritech New Zealand stands 100% behind the country’s farming community. The technology being developed by our members is designed to support increased productivity whilst maximising sustainable on-farm practice. This extends beyond the ETS and includes reducing the impact of poor nutrient application and management and its potential for run-off into our waterways.

Farming’s license to operate is real. Consumers around the world are becoming more sensitive towards climate change and the size of agriculture’s carbon footprint. The New Zealand farming organisations & representatives that have been working with government are fully aware of this. And so are New Zealand farmers on the ground. What they need over the next five year’s are solutions that will assist them address the challenge set out by the government last week. It’s an agenda that our members are keen to support.

As I write this post, the all of government agritech taskforce is considering a series of actions and initiatives designed to assist scale New Zealand’s agritech sector. It is a priority for the government’s Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) first announced back on 2 July in Parliament. The ITP programme is designed help New Zealand’s agritech sector develop the technologies necessary to assist farmers meet some of the major challenges they face.

Regulation goes so far. At the end of the day it will be the technology and innovation that New Zealand’s agriculture sector is known for that will enable our farmers meet the farm-level emissions pricing scheme that government and industry signed up for last week. Agriculture has, is, and will continue to be a major contributor to our national economy. Championing that cause and our hardworking farmers and growers is why we do this.

Peter Wren-Hilton Peter is Executive Director of Agritech New Zealand and founder of Wharf42 in Tauranga. Peter helps organise major agritech conferences in New Zealand and offshore and connects early stage New Zealand agritech companies with international markets.