Te Puna Umanga–Venture Taranaki has put out a call to Taranaki landowners to apply to participate in their Branching Out growing trials, kicking off later this year.
The agency’s Branching Out project, now in its second phase, aims to foster an environment that allows value chain diversification opportunities to be investigated, adopted, and to flourish, in Taranaki.
“We have reached an exciting milestone of the project where we’ll narrow our focus to a select range of crops that have been identified as having high potential to succeed in Taranaki,” Branching Out project lead Michelle Bauer said.
“A vital component in this next phase is growing trials where we look to prove that diversification is possible and that landowners can benefit economically, environmentally, and socially.”
The list of crops identified includes, angelica (gin botanicals), ashwagandha (medicinal plants), echinacea (medicinal plants), hemp for fibre production, hops, liquorice (gin botanicals), and sustainable crop rotation: high-value grains, legumes, and vegetables.
“We are seeking to work with growers and landowners from around the region to test recommendations and methods relating to growing, harvesting, and processing,” she said.
The trials will also document the challenges, benefits and opportunities, and lessons learned as the growers and grower groups in Taranaki prepare to commercialise their efforts.
They need 30 sites to commit to the project, and landowners and growers only need to commit to one growing cycle, in which they will benefit from de-risked knowledge and experience from growing high-value crops on their land, potential profit from successful trial yields and the option to continue growing commercially beyond trials.
Submissions will close on April 27.