8 Oct 2013

Govt investing in Latin American projects

7:18 am on 8 October 2013

The Government is investing $800,000 in two livestock emission research projects in Latin America.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says the projects come under the umbrella of the Global Research Alliance, which New Zealand initiated four years ago.

About 40 countries are involved in the alliance, investigating ways of reducing agricultural green house gas emissions, 13 of them from South and Central America.

"They're very keen to understand about what New Zealand is doing, and other countries around the world, to address these emission issues to do with livestock," Mr Guy says.

The $800,000 will go into two projects, one of which will look at dairying in the Andes with Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, and the other at trees on farms in Central America.

The alliance is making progress in tackling greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, he says.

"We're building a lot of capacity for measuring greenhouse gas emissions from livestock under traditional and improved systems.

"There's a lot of work going into design mitigation strategies and also a lot of work going into promoting sustainable livestock systems as well."

As well, there were research fellowships, workshops and education projects being shared with other countries, including a new programme to bring overseas farmers to New Zealand.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will pay for four farmers a year to spend several weeks here, looking at improved agricultural productivity and reducing on-farm methane emissions.

Federated farmers has been involved in setting up the scheme and its national president, Bruce Wills, has just returned from a board meeting of the World Farmers Organisation in Italy, where he got an enthusiastic response to the proposal.

"We're seen globally as a leader ... so we'll have no problem at all getting these positions filled," Mr Wills says.

The World Farmers' Organisations represents more than 50 organisations worldwide.