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Government Helps Increase Farm Profitability

A Government-funded advisory scheme to improve the productivity of under-utilised land on the East Coast has resulted in a significant improvement in farm profitability, Rural Affairs Minister Jim Sutton said today. The scheme pays particular attention to special problems faced by the managers of multiple-owned land.

Mr Sutton said the scheme was set up by the Labour-Alliance Government 18 months ago, funded by the Reducing Inequalities contingency fund.

He said the scheme was working extremely well.

"Hard work,experience and mana on the part of Albert Horsfall, the farm advisor appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has paid off with improved productivity from East Coast farms and increased profitability for their owners."

Mr Sutton said one farm near Waipiro Bay which he visited two weeks ago had increased its profitability 10-fold with help from the scheme.

"This initiative has been seized upon by local people. There has been support from other government agencies, such as Te Puni Kokiri, the Maori Land Court, and the Maori Trust Office, but in addition to that, the district council and private sector groups such as local banks, stock and station firms, veterinarians, and meat processing companies have contributed people and finacial resource to the programme. These people are involved because they see this project has real significance."

Mr Sutton said this was the first time he was aware of that such a scheme had been set up. Previously, MAF has not been funded to provide farming facilitation, except in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Higher productivity and greater profitability on farms with under-utilised land would result in better employment opportunities, wages, and working conditions for farm managers and farm workers, and higher dividend payments for landowners, he said. In the Gisborne and Wairoa districts, a significant number of these are Maori.


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