The award was presented at the Economic Development New Zealand delivering inclusive growth conference. Ten organisations were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the wellbeing and prosperity of their communities.
“Having the Manawatu Agritech Strategy recognised for integrated planning is a testament to the leadership, people and organisations in the region who were involved in its creation. This is a win for all of us,” CEDA chief executive Linda Stewart said.
Agritech was recognised as a strength and point of difference for the region through CEDA’s work with McKinsey and Company in 2017, given the cluster of businesses and organisations based in Manawatu. They include Massey University, UCOL, FoodHQ, Crown research institutes AgResearch and Plant and Food and the Ridddet Institute, Fonterra’s research and development centre, Sprout, and now the Rural Innovation Lab.
Representatives from those organisations and iwi were involved creating the strategy, which is a co-ordinated approach to growing the sector for the benefit of the food industry.
“Successful and sustainable economic development builds on the strength of a region and its comparative and competitive advantages,” Stewart said.
“This strategy and those involved in its creation demonstrate collective commitment to all playing a part in creating growth, expansion and investment opportunities and quality well-paying jobs that offer training and career pathways in Manawatu and beyond.”
Economic Development chairwoman and judge Pam Ford says the award winners reflect the importance of an inclusive approach and were honoured for initiatives that have had a real and positive impact on the wellbeing and prosperity of communities and regions.
“Agritech has emerged as a strong point of difference for the Manawatu region. CEDA and Sprout have built on that difference to create an agritech cluster strategy that achieves a virtuous, dynamic cycle of attracting top academics, researchers, students, venture capitalists and businesses.
The strategy was launched in October and is the first regional strategy of its kind focused on agritech.
The strategy is underpinned by four pillars that will drive the region towards achieving its goal of being recognised as one of the top three agrifood hubs in the world.
Initiatives already under way include the Rural Innovation Lab, FoodHQ’s Provincial Growth Fund application and AgriFood Week.
Initiatives include an agritech section at the Sort It Careers Expo, an agritech PR fund established between CEDA and industry and local restaurants being connected to future of food, endorsed by FoodHQ.