Farm­ing plan won’t work says lec­turer

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By EBELE EZEPUE

Massey Uni­ver­sity ecol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence se­nior lec­turer Dr Mike Joy says the 21-prin­ci­ple ac­tion plan for good farm­ing prac­tice will not achieve much.

The good farm­ing prac­tice for wa­ter qual­ity tar­gets land, wa­ter­way and soil pro­tec­tion, wa­ter use and ir­ri­ga­tion, as well as nu­tri­ent and ef­flu­ent man­age­ment was launched in the Waikato on June 5,

But Mike ar­gues that the vol­un­tary na­ture of the plan, like any other vol­un­tary agree­ment, is an ex­cuse for peo­ple to con­tinue what they are do­ing.

“Un­less there is a law to check the ac­tiv­i­ties of farm­ers, the good ones will com­ply with the agree­ment and the bad ones won’t and noth­ing happens.

“Peo­ple obey traf­fic rules be­cause there are traf­fic lights and cops are watch­ing. Of­fend­ers face the law in­stantly.

“But it’s not the same with vol­un­tary agree­ments. If there are no cam­eras put in place or cops pa­trolling the farms, farm­ers will con­tinue with what they are do­ing.”

As a con­se­quence of this, Mike de­scribed our rivers as “very dirty by any stan­dards and for many years this man­age­ment has done noth­ing and the ex­ist­ing plans are not vi­able”.

He said there was al­ways talk about bud­gets, which was a rea­son to do noth­ing. Four gov­er­nance groups con­sist­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the pri­mary sec­tors, re­gional coun­cils, pri­mary in­dus­tries and en­vi­ron­ment min­istries de­vel­oped the plan.

How­ever, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers en­vi­ron­ment spokesman Chris Allen thinks the ac­tion plan was a tan­gi­ble il­lus­tra­tion of com­mit­ment by the pri­mary sec­tor, and lo­cal and cen­tral govern­ment to work to­gether to en­hance our streams and rivers.

“It is all aimed at en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery farmer and grower to adopt good prac­tice and put in place a Farm En­vi­ron­ment Plan that boosts wa­ter­way pro­tec­tion on farm, and at catch­ment level. It also en­tails a sys­tem to mon­i­tor and re­port progress.”

Farmer Malcolm Cairns said the plan pro­vides farm­ers with prac­ti­cal tools to im­prove both en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic out­comes.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers ac­knowl­edge that farm­ing has an im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment but be­lieves that in­dus­try lead­er­ship in solv­ing the prob­lem rather than reg­u­la­tion by ar­bi­trary num­bers, will de­liver wa­ter-efficient and nu­tri­en­t­ef­fi­cient farm­ing sys­tems that en­hance eco­log­i­cal and recre­ational val­ues.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.