Food, fibre fund open for business

Looking for new high-value jobs in rural communities; pictured, a tractor cultivating a paddock...
Looking for new high-value jobs in rural communities; pictured, a tractor cultivating a paddock in South Otago. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Government's new Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund is open for business.

The fund, which was officially launched in August, has been created from two Ministry for Primary Industries investment programmes - the Sustainable Farming Fund and the Primary Growth Partnership.

Proposals for SFF Futures -which has a budget of $40million a year - must demonstrate they would deliver benefits beyond the applicants to wider New Zealand, such as creating new high-value jobs in rural communities, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.

``The primary industries bring in more than $40billion a year in export revenue and drove the latest GDP growth with agriculture, forestry and fisheries up 4.1%.

``Our challenge, and opportunity, is to generate more value from these industries while sustaining the natural resources we depend upon for future generations.

``SFF Futures provides a single gateway for farmers, growers and organisations to seek investment in projects that help our economic engine move from volume to value,'' Mr O'Connor said in a statement.

The projects would grow important industries, deliver environmental and sustainability benefits, foster collaboration, build capability, create new products, services and jobs, and, importantly, retain the benefits in New Zealand.

It fitted in with the work of the Primary Sector Council, which was taking a good look into the future of the country's primary sectors to help direct a strategic path forward for each sector, he said.

In April, Mr O'Connor announced membership of the council, which comprises 15 leaders from across the sector who will provide independent strategic advice to the Government on issues confronting the primary industries. It is chaired by former Zespri Group chief executive Lain Jager.


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