Govt supports sustainable wool carpets project to develop more sustainable products

The Government is supporting a new project with the all-wool New Zealand carpet company, Bremworth, which aims to develop more sustainable all-wool carpets and rugs.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $1.9 million towards Bremworth’s $4.9 million sustainability project through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. Bremworth is a subsidiary of Cavalier Corporation Limited.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the three-year programme will involve research and development of natural and green chemistry-based alternatives to the few remaining synthetic components of woollen carpets.

“The rise of synthetic carpets has overtaken wool dramatically in the last few decades, which has severely affected the wool industry,” Damien O’Connor said.

“I’m told that an average Kiwi household laid with synthetic carpet is estimated to have the equivalent weight of 22,000 plastic shopping bags on its floor. That’s a compelling reason to use sustainable wool wherever we can to make healthy homes for Kiwis and the world.

“More than ever consumers are considering the entire life-cycle of products. We believe this programme will spur demand for New Zealand strong wool and enhance our manufacturing competitiveness through strong environmental credentials that challenge industry norms.”

New Zealand wool is 100 per cent biodegradable, renewable and sustainable.

“It aims to keep New Zealand woollen yarn and carpet manufacturing capacity in New Zealand, preserving jobs, and protecting local communities and supply chains.”

Damien O’Connor said revitalising the strong wool sector was a key part of delivering the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap, released last year. It included bringing forward $84 million of SFF Futures funding for innovative and creative projects.

“This new project is a great example of an initiative that aims to create a step change in the wool products manufactured in Aotearoa, and deliver on the Fit for a Better World vision. Continue reading

New research aims to increase longevity of bumblebee hives for NZ growers

New research backed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) could help bumblebee hives to live longer and be more efficient.

The new project is researching ways to protect the long-term sustainability of New Zealand horticulture, including how to enhance the performance of bumblebee hives using pheromones.

MPI is contributing $160,000 towards the $400,000 project through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.

Dr Gunjan Gera, of Gourmet Waiuku Limited, is leading the project, supported by consultant Dr Jo Stephens.

Dr Gera says bumblebees are often used for pollination in berryfruit crops, glasshouses, and other covered crop areas because the bees tend to travel only about 200 metres from their hives and don’t mind enclosed spaces, whereas honeybees prefer to fly to flowers further afield. Continue reading

MPI calls for proposals to research regenerative farming practices

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is calling for proposals for projects that will investigate regenerative farming practices.

Funding for successful proposals is available through the Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) co-investment fund. The fund aims to have projects underway by mid-2021.

“There is increasing interest from farmers and the wider community about regenerative agricultural practices, but definitions for regenerative agriculture can vary dramatically,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s director investment programmes.

“We’re looking to define what regenerative agriculture means from a New Zealand perspective, and develop a sound evidence base to test and confirm what works in our soils, climates, and farming systems.” Continue reading

Methane-reducing cattle feed one step closer

The Government today announced its support for a project that it believes could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle.

The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park.

The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund to turn a native red seaweed, Asparagopsis armata, in to a greenhouse gas-busting cattle feed supplement for domestic and global markets. Continue reading

Government provides funding for edible seaweed venture

A Coromandel company is receiving Government funding to investigate the commercial viability of turning a pest seaweed into a high value export industry.

Project Whakatiputipuled by Wakame Fresh Ltd, is the first project to be contracted under Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures).  The fund is contributing up to $75,200 and Wakame Fresh Ltd $114,182.

Wakame Fresh Ltd has been operating in the Coromandel for seven years harvesting Undaria for domestic consumption. It began exporting to Australia last year.

Project Whakatiputipu aims to demonstrate the commercial viability of harvesting, processing and exporting edible seaweed products into Japan.

The trial involves harvesting and processing this seaweed.  The ultimate goal is exporting edible seaweed products into Japan. The project started in May 2019 and is scheduled to wrap up late this year.

Continue reading

Food and fibre fund open for agribusiness

The value of New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors is set to grow as a primary sector investment fund opens for business, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said at the Ashburton A&P show today.

Proposals for the $40 million a year Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund must demonstrate they will deliver benefits beyond the applicants to wider New Zealand, such as creating new high-value jobs in rural communities, he said.

“SFF Futures provides a single gateway for farmers, growers and organisations to seek investment in projects that help our economic engine move from volume to value.

“The projects will grow important industries, deliver environmental and sustainability benefits, foster collaboration, build capability, create new products, services and jobs, and importantly retain the benefits in New Zealand.

“This fits in with the work of the Primary Sector Council, which is taking a good look into the future of our primary sectors to help direct a strategic path forward for each sector.”

Together SFF Futures and the Primary Sector Council will help farmers and growers run their operations sustainably and profitably, driving a strong economy that helps raise the living standards of all New Zealanders, Mr O’Connor said.

Applications for funding can be made at www.mpi.govt.nz/funding.

Source:  Minister of Agriculture