Monday, April 22, 2024

Funding boost for biodiversity pilot

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The Government is investing almost $1 million in a new pilot project to help pastoral farmers protect and restore native biodiversity on their farms.
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There is widespread interest from farming communities and farm advisors on how to meaningfully improve biodiversity, Damien O’Connor says.

The Government is investing almost $1 million in a new pilot project to help pastoral farmers protect and restore native biodiversity on their farms.

The 20-month Farming with Native Biodiversity project is being led by the NZ Landcare Trust and supported by Silver Fern Farms, the Living Water Partnership (Fonterra and the Department of Conservation), BioHeritage Challenge and Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho. 

The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures), administrated by the Ministry for Primary Industries, is contributing 70% of the funding.

“Helping farmers to integrate biodiversity objectives into their farm plans is one way we are supporting them to make their farms even more environmentally sustainable,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.

“There is widespread interest from farming communities and farm advisors on how to meaningfully improve biodiversity, but expert advice is hard to come by and can be costly.

“This investment is a first step to improving the quality and availability of advice. It will break down any barriers to farmers taking action on biodiversity management.”

The results of the project will be shared with at least 6000 farmers and will see catchment groups, councils and others helping prepare targeted resources that can be used nationally. 

Podcasts, videos and peer-to-peer learning will become part of farmers’ sustainability toolbox.

Associate Environment Minister James Shaw welcomed support to help protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.

“Addressing the biodiversity crisis is a priority for this Government. We have been working closely with farmers, environmental groups, and Iwi Māori to develop a National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. The Farming with Native Biodiversity project will help farmers prepare for the implementation of the policy statement by supporting them to protect and restore native biodiversity on their land,” he says.

“This is another step in our Fit for a Better World roadmap, which is strengthening the environmental credentials of our food and fibre products and driving further growth in the value of products,” O’Connor says.

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