Thursday, 19 April 2018 14:54

We are growing houses instead of food — Feds

Written by 
Chris Allen. Chris Allen.

We are losing our most productive land to houses - that’s the most significant point Federated Farmers takes from the ‘Our Land 2018’ report released today.

The Ministry for the Environment report shows the pressure New Zealand agriculture is under from the loss of highly productive and versatile land due to urbanisation.

There was a 10% increase in urban areas from 2002 to 2012 and the loss would be even more now with the pressure on housing in the last few years.

Alarmingly, at the same time, there was a 7% reduction in land used for agriculture. This means land and soil is lost to urban subdivisions, forestry and lifestyle blocks.

"We know soils are precious. Seeing them covered with tarseal and concrete is something we as significant custodians of land get frustrated by," Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.

Federated Farmers is committed to supporting farmers to implement good management practices that will reduce erosion and help manage soil.

This report is a useful tool for helping all farmers and other land users see what we need to continue to work on.

"This report is the first of its kind, and it’s a good first attempt at putting together some analysis of our land use,’ says Allen.

"But it is obviously lacking in significant data - the report admits this multiple times.”

Feds is extremely disappointed most of the data used in this report has not been updated since the Environment Aotearoa report of 2015 which used 2012 data.

"If we are serious about monitoring land use and its quality, we need to get our act together and fund the science appropriately.

"Most of the data in this report is six years out of date. That’s not acceptable or helpful," Allen says.

"We know scientists are struggling to get successful bids for this research funding over the line as agricultural science is just not sexy enough."

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