Field trials aimed at increasing production of high value, medical grade manuka honey are getting a boost from the country's biggest farmer Landcorp.
The state owned farming enterprise is planting out more than 90 hectares of manuka on its farms in the Te Anau area, Wairarapa and Canterbury.
It is part of a Primary Growth Partnership programme funded by the government and industry partners, aimed at increasing the value of manuka honey from an estimated $75 million a year to $1.2 billion by 2028.
The programme involves establishing plantations of manuka plants, selected for their potential to produce nectar containing higher levels of the anti-bacterial active ingredient in manuka honey used in treating wound infections.
Landcorp Property and Environment General Manager Phil McKenzie said as well as increasing production of high grade manuka honey, it is looking at environmental and other benefits.
"We have got a number of specific sites where we are looking at opportunities for riparian planting of manuka, so that we achieve environmental rejuvenation outcomes, as well as a commercial outcome for the value of the honey."
Mr McKenzie said Landcorp will also be growing manuka for stock shelter on one of its irrigated dairy farms in Canterbury.
"Just to see if we get some shelter benefit from the manuka and also some additional revenue from the honey that would come off there."