New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been digging even deeper into its Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund to find significant funds for a new, NZ$65m joint development project between sheep and beef farmers.
Tempted by the promise of funds, the red meat industry has promised to work together to promote and assist in the adoption of best practice as part of the Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.
Wayne McNee, director-general of the MPI, has approved a commitment of up to NZ$32.4m from the PGP fund to pay for the government’s share of the programme, and the sum will subsequently be matched by the private sector.
This seven-year programme will bring together a number of participants in New Zealand’s red meat industry, including processing companies that together account for the substantial majority of New Zealand’s sheep and beef exports.
It aims to ensure that red meat producers are able to effectively use the best-available farm and business management practices.
McNee said the new PGP programme will transform the delivery of knowledge and capability within the sheep and beef sector.
“Importantly this is the most comprehensive collaboration of its type ever seen in the red meat sector, and the opportunities are very exciting,” he said. “The collaboration programme will build base capability, delivering benefits across the sector and aligned with other PGP programmes.”
The MPI must now seek farmer support for their portion of the investment. If everything stays on track, the ministry expects the programme will begin in the third-quarter of this year.
Dr Scott Champion, chairman of the programme’s steering group, said that collaboration between beef and sheep farmers is much needed.
“To have the red meat industry focused on supporting farmers and united in this programme is of major significance,” he said.
“With a new awareness of what drives farm profitability, the collaboration will change the sector’s focus from one that is dominated by price to one focused on performance, productivity, profitability and the factors we can control.”