A re-vamped primary sector investment fund – Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures – has opened for business.
Making the announcement at the Ashburton A & P Show late last week, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor said proposals for the $40 million a year Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, which replaces the former Sustainable Farming Fund, must demonstrate they will deliver benefits beyond the applicants to wider New Zealand, such as creating new high-value jobs in rural communities.
“The primary industries bring in more than $40 billion a year in export revenue and drove the latest GDP growth with agriculture, forestry and fisheries up 4.1 percent,” he said.
“Our challenge, and opportunity, is to generate more value from these industries while sustaining the natural resources we depend upon for future generations.
“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 our farmers and growers run their operations sustainably and profitably, driving a strong economy that helps raise the living standards of all New Zealanders,” said O’Connor.
SFF Futures replaces the Sustainable Farming Fund, which had operated over the past 18 years and has helped a wide variety of projects in the sector.