New Climate Action Centre to support farmers maintain international edge

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Damien O'Connor
  • New Climate Action Centre launched to support farmers reduce ag emissions through R&D investment
  • 50:50 joint venture between Government and agribusiness to accelerate product development
  • First Centre projects launched to get farmers the emissions reducing tools sooner
  • Indicative funding commitment rising to $35 million per year by Joint venture partners, seeing at least $170 million invested over the next four years
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, launched the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions alongside the primary sector partners today at Mystery Creek Fieldays.

    The Centre was announced as part of Budget 2022, and focuses on reducing agriculture emissions through research and development, including a substantial new public private 50:50 joint venture.

    “Our focus is supporting farmers to grow their exports, reduce emissions, and maintain our international competitive edge into the future” Jacinda Ardern said.

    “Farmers are the backbone of our economy and we have to secure the future growth of our primary industry exports, by maintaining our competitive edge in a volatile global market.

    “As part of the centre’s work to help farmers we’re partnering with the sector to invest $27 million into three new projects to decrease emissions and promote sustainable economic growth.

    “Since 2017 we’ve worked hard to support our primary industries export growth, seeing a 39 per cent increase, which now contributes over $53 billion to the economy.

    “Growing our exports provide greater economic security for all New Zealanders, and lifts the quality of living through higher wages, new jobs, and greater stability during economic downturns.

    “We need to face the future to maintain our competitive edge internationally, and keep giving customers every reason to continue buying New Zealand’s food and fibre. Exporters are already telling me the role sustainability is playing in customer’s decision making,” Jacinda Ardern said.

    The Government also announced the Centre’s first three investments help farmers bring down emissions and futureproof the export growth of the sector to provide greater economic security for all New Zealanders, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

    “An investment of $7.8 million will go alongside Ruminant Biotech’s $9.5 million contribution to develop a methane inhibiting capsule, or bolus, which delivers at least a 70 per cent reduction in methane whilst active,” Damien O’Connor said.

    “This will not only help us reach our emissions reductions targets, but will set New Zealand up as a leader in the methane inhibitor industry globally.

    “We are also supporting our sheep farmers reduce emissions by investing over $2.2 million alongside a $2 million contribution from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and other industry partners, to increase our supply of low methane rams through genetic selection, introducing more low methane traits into the national sheep flock.

    “The third project will invest around $6 million in urgently needed greenhouse gas measurement equipment and infrastructure. Product developers need greater access to testing equipment to prove the efficacy of new products and get tools in the hands of farmers sooner.”

    Damien O’Connor said as part of the joint venture the Government is partnering with ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, and Synlait. In the last week Rabobank has also signed on to join the partnership.

    “Partners in the new joint venture have made an indicative funding commitment that will rise to around $35 million a year by 2025, matched by Government. This will see around $170 million invested over the first four years and we expect that to grow over time.

    “These are just the first of our investments as we continue to prioritise supporting farmers by investing alongside industry in solutions that future-proof our primary industries and provide greater economic security for all New Zealanders,” Damien O’Connor said.

    The agriculture sector contributes nearly 50 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions, and around 91 per cent of our biogenic methane emissions.

    The joint venture was also launched at the event with Sir Brian Roche announced as Chair.

    Notes to the editor:

    The funding comes from the $338.7 million over the next four years to strengthen the role of research and development for new tools and technologies to reduce on-farm emissions.

    It will have two key components – a new public private 50:50 joint venture, and an enhanced New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC).

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