Budget 2018 includes $15 million of new operating funding over the next four years for the Sustainable Farming Fund to support more inspiring ideas in applied research and extension projects that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for New Zealand.
In a joint press statement to announce this, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Climate Change Minister James Shaw say the Government is investing in projects to build sustainability, productivity and resilience across the primary sector as the Government works alongside farmers and rural communities to provide leadership on some of New Zealand’s most pressing issues.
The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) encourages unique collaborations among farmers and growers, scientists and researchers, iwi, local government and others who are making a real difference for our rural communities and the wider primary industries, Mr O’Connor says.
“There has been a massive oversubscription to the fund in recent years, meaning good projects aren’t getting a look-in because the previous Government did not provide enough investment for the fund,” he says.
“In the last SFF round, 86 eligible applications were received but only 28 of these could be accepted.”
Mr Shaw says these projects are led by those on the front line and help find ways to optimise the use of the country’s natural resources and protect the environment for future generations.
“We have set an ambitious target for New Zealand to become a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050,” Mr Shaw says.
“A range of forward-looking measures are required to achieve this. Cleaner, smarter farming is central to our plan for sustainable growth.”
Mr O’Connor says the SFF funding boost builds on work the Government has already prioritised.
Last year, he announced the pilot for SFF Tere, which translates to “be quick, swift or fast”.
“Smaller producers are often key innovators, and four SFF Tere projects are already progressing,” Mr O/Connor says.
“I’m looking forward to doing more to help our primary sector increase value and resilience, with a head start on ever-changing consumer tastes.”
The move announced today was included in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between Labour and the Green Party.
Mr Shaw says the Government is committed to partnering with the agricultural sector to achieve shared goals for sustainability, modernisation and profitability.
“This boost to the Sustainable Farming Fund injects fresh energy into projects that explore how to farm less intensively and more in tune with the environment, while retaining profitability.”
Find out more about the Sustainable Farming Fund at mpi.govt.nz/SFF.