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Primary sector incorporates sustainable practices

18th October 2006

Primary sector incorporates sustainable practices

Economic transformation of the primary industries will be achieved by leveraging off New Zealand’s natural competitive advantages and one component will be the exceptional stewardship of our natural resources, Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton said today at the Landcare 10th Anniversary workshop.

"Young New Zealanders must have hope for their future and the opportunity to make a competitive living. That means our development must be based on both husbanding and harvesting our natural resources in a way that ensures they are available to be enjoyed by everyone - those around today and our grandchildren who will be here to enjoy them tomorrow.

"Agriculture has a huge contribution to make to New Zealand's future. Farming is evolving into a more productive, higher skilled and higher-earning industry. As the sector continues to grow it is increasingly incorporating sustainable business practices into production processes. We need to see business as a catalyst for making the world a better place to live in.

"Care for the environment is a matter of good business and farmers are more and more aware of the impacts in the production process and the need to manage climate change, land management and the resilience to cope with adverse weather events. All these challenges are interlinked. Farmers have an interest in climate even more than consumers.

"The Sustainable Farming Fund is supporting projects that give land managers better information and where the emphasis is on environmentally sensitive production.

"One example is the code of practice that is being developed to protect vegetable seed crops from cross–pollination. There is potential to increase the value and demand for vegetable seed if the risk of accidental cross-pollination can be minimised.

"The vegetable seed industry has grown from near zero earnings in 1995 to $23 million in 2004. An increase in export seed value of 5% across the board from this project would result in increased export earnings of another million dollars a year.

"Our primary producers are demonstrating that they can use research, science and technology to create greater value from the resource base and also lift environmental performance by using sustainable methods.

"New Zealand's Landcare Trust has done great work over the last ten years, bringing together the diverse groups in our community who have a stake in the stewardship of our natural environment," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS


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