Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production

Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand and adapt to the effects of climate change in New Zealand.

“This Government has a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Our recently announced Fit for a Better World plan is a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value for a sector vital to New Zealand’s economic recovery. Sustainability is key to achieving this.

“Overseas consumers increasingly want greater assurances that the food and fibre they buy is produced in a sustainable way – and they’ll pay a premium for it. Our farmers and growers get that and many have done a huge amount of work to improve their practices over the last 20 years.

“The primary sector have told us there are three priority areas where they need more knowledge and tools, so the projects we’re funding have been targeted towards those areas: freshwater mitigation, climate adaptation, and climate change extension.

“One of the projects looks at measuring the amount of run-off from six different farm environments to test the effectiveness of removing contaminants using constructed wetlands.

“Another one focuses on undertaking spatial, flood risk and economic modelling to assess the impact of floods on production, land-use change, and economic and environmental outcomes.

“Another project will deliver climate change seminars for rural professionals and boost their capability to deliver more seminars around the country.

“Our farmers and growers play a vital role in New Zealand’s rural communities and economy and will do for the foreseeable future. These projects will help further bolster our green reputation in a global pandemic environment to ensure New Zealand builds back better, together.”

Details of all the projects are available here

  • The funding is being provided by MPI’s Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) funding Programme and the projects will kick off from 1 August 2020.
  • $14.4 million is being provided for 12 projects for ‘Freshwater mitigation’ projects over four years
  • $2.8 million is funding 7 ‘Adaptation’ projects of up to three years
  • $800,000 is being provided for 3 ‘Extension’ projects over two years.
  • The Freshwater Mitigation fund is a new category for SLMACC funding. The 12 funded projects will assess the effectiveness of a range of methods for protecting water health and reducing nutrient runoff; including nutrient management techniques, mechanical protection techniques, herd testing and supplements.
  • The climate change adaption fund is funding seven projects aimed at improving food and fibre sector resilience to a changing climate and helping farmers to move towards a low carbon future. Topics include climate change impact on trade and biosecurity through pests and diseases, future-proofing irrigation through adaptation and decision-making, and assessing risks and planning for resilience to adverse events.
  • Extension funds (previously known as technology transfer) focus on translating the latest scientific research into practical information, so the science can be applied at farm level. Three projects are being funded, from 7 applications. They include training for rural professionals and developing and delivering new content, building on well-received pilots in 2019. Also included is assessing the provision of sophisticated and specialised farm planning expertise for environmental outcomes.
  • Reports and resources from all SLMACC projects are made available to the public through the MPI website (www.mpi.govt.nz), the Climate Cloud online research portal website (www.climatecloud.co.nz) and as farm-centred advice, videos and articles on the Ag Matters website (www.agmatters.nz).

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