Focus on sustainable farming could bridge ‘chasm’ – professor

Focus on sustainable farming could bridge ‘chasm’ – professor.
The nation needs to take stock of where farming is headed in the future and focus on sustainability, two agricultural leaders say.
Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King Water pollution, water taxes and carbon emissions are hot political topics that bring out sharp divisions of opinion.
That’s what responsible government and the public should be focused on: how do you bridge the gap?"
It would involve give and take on both sides, Mr Hickford said.
Agribusiness consultant Alison Dewes, who lives in the Bay of Plenty, said farming was not heading in the right direction, with too much focus on intensification.
Ms Dewes backs innovation, but said the government should not be putting money into large-scale irrigation systems.
"We definitely need value, but when we drive growth what we’re tending to do now is drive growth in vulnerable landscapes, with huge amounts of inputs.
"Therefore we’re not seeing a net lift in productivity and we’re seeing a decline in profit and an increase in debt, which are all negative spill-overs from that activity," she said.
Ms Dewes agreed with Mr Hickford that New Zealand should be focused on ecologically sustainable farming systems.

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