16 Mar 2017

Govt announces $2m funding for primary sector

7:45 pm on 16 March 2017

The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced over $2 million worth of funding for the agricultural sector at the Central Districts Fieldays today.

Nathan Guy announced the first three projects at fieldays this morning.

Nathan Guy announced the first three projects at fieldays this morning. Photo: RNZ / Alexa Cook

The funding is from the government's Sustainable Farming Fund and is for several different projects including women in the primary sector, animal health and water use.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy opened the ASB Innovation Centre at the fieldays this morning and announced the first three projects, which would get $1.2m of the funding.

"One is to do with facial eczema, the other one is bovine viral diarrhoea and another for potato seed tubers ... they're all important for this region but across New Zealand as well.

"If you think about BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea) it has a significant cost for our dairy industry... That study is about looking at key pathways and whether we can establish a national control programme and also having some tracking ability to where these animals are."

The other funding is $590,000 for irrigation and soil research and $289,000 for the Agri-Womens Development Trust.

The executive director of the trust, Lindy Nelson, said the funding would help further develop their work.

"Because women make up 50 percent of the primary industries, we want to make sure every woman has those opportunities ... we've worked hard in our first six years of operation to create specific development opportunities for women ranging from farm owners to those in corporate roles."

Ms Nelson said the new project would not only focus on the women themselves, but also the contexts in which they are leading.

She said the project would support women to contribute to financially, socially, environmentally and progress-led businesses, products and communities.

Agreement signed

The minister has also signed an Agricultural Cooperation Arrangement with Argentina today with Argentina's Secretary of Agriculture, Ricardo Negri, during his three-day visit to New Zealand.

Mr Guy said New Zealand and Argentina had a close relationship, particularly in agricultural sciences.

"This new arrangement creates a framework for greater cooperation between our two countries in the agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sectors, including opportunities for technical exchanges, joint research, innovation and value addition.

"Two-way trade between Argentina and New Zealand is growing, particularly in primary sectors. The arrangement will support strengthened economic relations between both countries with agriculture at the centre of this."