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Food And Fibres Sector Making Significant Strides Towards New Zealand’s Economic Recovery

The Government is backing the food and fibres sector to lead New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19 with targeted investments as part of its Fit for a Better World roadmap, Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said.

“To drive New Zealand’s recovery, we launched the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential roadmap last year to boost productivity, sustainability, and jobs over the next 10 years,” Stuart Nash said.

Two reports released at Fieldays today, the Fit for a Better World Progress Update 2021 and the Sustainable Food and Fibres Snapshot, provide an update on the work the Government is doing in partnership with industry.

“Since we launched the roadmap we've co-invested alongside industry in projects worth tens of millions of dollars."

Stuart Nash said the roadmap was focused on identifying creative and new ideas for lifting returns and improving sustainability.

“Last year we up-scaled the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund to further boost innovation efforts.

“SFF Futures has so far committed more than $111 million of funding towards new projects worth a total of almost $250 million. This emphasises the importance the sector places on innovation, which is vital to the delivery of the roadmap.”

SFF Futures and industry have co-invested in projects including:

· a $27 million project bringing the horticulture, wine, and arable sectors together to find ways to produce food using sustainable pest management practices

· a $20 million project helping to put New Zealand on the map as a leading leaf protein concentrate producer, with the potential to lower nitrogen losses and emissions on-farm

· a $785,500 project researching, developing, and trialling the commercialisation of a resin formula to create a durable fire-retardant exterior wood prototype from New Zealand radiata pine

· a $353,000 project developing a model for producing independently verified sustainable beef through the entire supply chain

· a $200,000 project trialling a new sustainable non-woven textile made from New Zealand wool for biodegradable nappies, to replace synthetics made from fossil fuels.

“Through Budget 2021, the Government committed $62 million to back initiatives to help reduce costs for farmers and growers, boost returns, and achieve lower on-farm emissions.

“Partnerships like He Waka Eke Noa, our Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership, are also working with farmers and growers on practical solutions to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change.

“All of this work has a common goal of strengthening the environmental credentials of our food and fibre products and driving further value growth.

“Initiatives like our Opportunity Grows Here campaign continue to attract New Zealanders with food and fibre sector jobs, with more than 5,200 people placed into primary sector work to date.

“The Government is committed to working with our sector partners to drive New Zealand’s economic recovery and ongoing prosperity,” Stuart Nash said.

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