Hemp is the first non-GMO crop to be certified by the European Union.
It has been hailed as a way to cut carbon emissions and help alleviate poverty and hunger.
But many farmers in Australia’s far north have complained about the lack of access to raw materials and pesticides and have asked for the process to be reclassified as a pesticide, which would mean the paper would have to be removed and re-used.
The Australian Government’s latest farm subsidy proposal aims to ease the pressure on farmers by allowing them to import paper products and to buy up the surplus at higher prices.
The move comes after a series of scandals involving Australia’s pesticide industry.
In 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that pesticides used by farmers were often the same pesticides used on conventional paper products, but some growers complained they had not been properly labelled.
In response, the ABS issued a public information document that stated that pesticides could be applied to paper products that were labelled with the correct chemical, or if they had a colour that could be detected with a chemical test.
But the document did not include information on which pesticides were applied and what the colour was.
A number of farmers, including Mr Leong, have questioned whether the pesticide label had been properly checked.
“We’re seeing some pesticides are being used, some are not being used,” Mr Leoong said.
“And some pesticides have been used on paper products for many years, and some are still being used.”
He added that farmers should be able to purchase their paper from other countries for a price they can afford.
“You can’t buy paper from China for the same price as the Australian dollar,” he said.
Mr Leaong and his wife have been raising cotton for eight years.
The Leos are one of about 20 families in a small community of about 300 people in the remote Northern Territory.
They have been farming for nearly a decade, but Mr Leoiong said the price of cotton is up to 30 per cent higher than the local currency.
He said his family is struggling to make ends meet on the $100 per acre he has been raising.
“It’s not a good situation, and we have no money to buy any more,” he added.
Mr Lam said he is also concerned about the impact of pesticides on the environment.
“I’m very concerned about all of this, and if it is going to affect the environment in any way, then we have to think about that,” he explained.
“My family has a lot of cotton that is a part of our farming, so I would expect a lot from the government to make sure that that is not affected by this.”
Mr Lam’s neighbour, Robert Lam, also raised concerns about pesticides.
He raised concerns that the government was prioritising the pesticide industry over the welfare of farmers.
“There is a real risk that the pesticides industry will take advantage of the government and use these new rules to try and make a profit from farmers, and it will really take a toll on their farming and their livelihoods,” Mr Lam told ABC News.
“Farmers are in danger of losing their livelihood, and that is something that farmers need to have concern about.”
Farmers also want to know what will happen to the farmers who are unable to produce enough to make a living.
“They are going to lose the crop that they have been growing for many, many years and that’s not good,” Mr Lau said.