Farmers could be missing out on vital income owing to a lack of regulation regarding natural capital, new findings have revealed.
The report, Natural Capital: What Farmers and Policy Makers Need to Know, warns the absence of a Government directive is preventing many farmers from entering into the market.
It has also urged Ministers to ensure that natural asset markets balance public value benefits from private finance, alongside their public investments.
Commissioned by the Food Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) and supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, the report aimed to determine how farmers could engage with new and emerging markets to aid the agricultural transition and boost farm incomes.
A working paper from FFCC, which accompanies the report, further explores what role governments should play in shaping and enabling these markets to achieve substantial and speedy action towards climate goals and nature recovery – and shows the UK is missing an opportunity to be a global leader.
According to the findings, in the last month alone, reports from Green Finance Institute and Bankers for Net Zero have explored how private finance could help farmers to sequester carbon, create wildlife areas and deliver other important environmental value.
But despite the urgent need to invest in more sustainable farming to deliver environmental actions, there is not yet enough practical action on the ground from farmers, landowners and land managers commensurate with the scale of the challenge.
It follows the publication of the Government’s Nature Markets Framework document earlier this month.
While the FFCC welcomed the move in terms of setting standards and clarifying how public and private money can work together, it said it does not ‘sufficiently recognise the underlying structural imbalance between powerful and experienced international markets players and individual farmers.’