How we treat our soil has major implications for our future food production and the viability of our agricultural land.
Topsoil is critical to our productivity, but like our fossil fuels, we're using and losing topsoil faster than it can be replaced. This loss is due to a range of factors, but the most significant causes are intensive fertiliser use and erosion caused by land clearing.
The Centre for Policy Development has found that acting now to improve soil condition could increase wheat production by up to $2.1 billion per year. That's why the Greens will invest in a national soil health strategy to improve our soil conditions, which will also help farmers cut back on their fertiliser and water use.
The Greens know that we need to invest in better monitoring and research in order to reverse the loss of our precious topsoil. This is why the Greens will:
- Invest $75 million over the forward estimates to fund the national soil health strategy.
- Encourage state and territory governments to match this investment.
- Support consistent, ongoing research and monitoring over the long term.
The Greens' investment in a soil strategy will drive innovation in farming techniques to gives Australian farmers a lasting competitive advantage by:
- Reducing the costs of inputs such as fertilizer.
- Reversing the decline in productivity that results from poor soil quality.
Our full plan for soil health includes plans to reward farmers for restoring ecosystems, improve data collection to help farmers and our pre-existing commitment to boost agricultural R&D by $300 million.