Thursday, December 7, 2023

Plan targets $44 billion export boost

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The Government want to increase primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, a plan released today by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
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Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential targets a gradual lift in export earnings to $10 billion a year extra by 2030, which will bring in a cumulative $44 billion more during that time.

The plan reinforces the Government’s commitment to reducing NZ’s biogenic methane emissions to 24-47% below 2017 levels by 2050 and 10% below by 2030 and restoring freshwater environments to a healthy state within a generation.

A key part of the plan is to increase the food and fibre sector workforce by 10% by 2030, with 10,000 more primary sector jobs in the next four years.

Ardern says the primary sector kept people fed and in jobs during the covid-19 pandemic and will continue to play a large part in driving NZ’s economic recovery from it.

She says Fit for a Better World is a roadmap that sets out ways for the sector to create more value and jobs and bolster NZ’s green reputation.

The Government is already backing parts of the roadmap through a range of projects including exporter support, getting people into primary sector jobs, reducing agricultural emissions and improving freshwater quality.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the primary sector’s ability to record 4.5% growth in the year to April 31 and forecast export revenue set to hit nearly $48 billion despite covid-19 highlight overseas demand for NZ primary products.

“However, as the Primary Sector Council’s Vision and Strategic Outline, also released today, says, we need to act quickly and boldly and can’t continue to rely on volume growth to generate greater returns,” O’Connor says.

That will require new billion-dollar, category-leading products.

He says the plan will build on work already started and bring together actions, investment and resources to accelerate the necessary transformation.

That includes the Wool Industry Project Action Group’s report, to be released on Friday, which will set the path for future growth of NZ’s strong-wool sector.

Existing funding will be redirected to kick-start delivery of the roadmap in two areas.

First, it will bring forward $84 million to the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund on top of the $70m already available for the next two years, to boost innovation.

Second, it will use $11.6m from the Billion Trees Fund to invest in the Transforming Forestry and Wood Processing initiative, which involves developing an industry transformation plan for the forestry and wood processing sector; supporting the development of new uses and markets for wood residues to help meet carbon reduction targets, working with industry to improve sector profitability and resilience by developing options to co-locate complementary processing sites in regional manufacturing clusters and developing a virtual Centre of Excellence for Timber Design and Specification to help develop and grow new domestic and export markets.

Sustainable aquaculture is seen as having significant growth potential.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the Government has a strategy to expand the sector fivefold to a $3b industry by 2035 and the roadmap will help accelerate that.

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