The New Zealand government is backing a new $27 million project to boost sustainable horticulture production and COVID-19 recovery efforts, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Over the seven-year life of the project, the Ministry for Primary Industries, through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, is contributing $10.8 million and the industry is contributing $16.2 million.
“Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our economy. During and post lockdown they’ve become a lifeline for a number of redeployed workers from industries such as tourism, forestry and hospitality,” the minister said.
“Our growers and producers will play a critical role in our economic recovery. The Government knows this which is why in Budget 2020 we committed $38.5 million to help the sector seize further opportunities for future growth. This adds to that investment,” he added.
Mr O’Connor said A Lighter Touch is a robust partnership between government and industry.
The goal is to create new growing methods and crop protection measures that reduce the consumption of chemical fertilizers.
This initiative is also expected to benefit New Zealand by enhancing the value of its horticultural, arable and wine exports, accelerating investment and diversity in agricultural production. Also, it is likely to introduce cutting-edge technology into the national economy.