Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, told an online audience at yesterday’s B.linc Innovation series there was an incredible future ahead for the New Zealand, but the Government wanted to fund innovation.
“It’s not business as usual,” he said referring to how the economy could recover after the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We want to fund innovation and there is money there for good ideas.”
He was speaking on Resilience and Innovation in NZ Agriculture.
B.linc Innovation, on the Lincoln University campus, looks to break down barriers between the farming, business, technology and science addressing the most significant challenges facing New Zealand’s primary industries including changing land-use, protecting water and biodiversity, consumer food demand and responding to the climate crisis.
The Minister also pointed to the potential of low-carbon natural fibres such as wool and how New Zealand was well-placed to take advantage of growth in that market.
Through online questions he also talked about how the Government had invested into giving people skills to shift across to the primary sector, and how the intuitive skills brought from other jobs fitted well within the sector, and people were often surprised how much more they were being paid.
To support domestic students into jobs in the food and fibre sectors, the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund is covering course costs for four Lincoln University sub-degree programmes from July 2020 until December 2022: the Diploma in Horticulture, Diploma in Agriculture, Diploma in Farm Management, and the Diploma in Organic Agri-Food Production.
He also raised the need for New Zealand to come up with its own definition of regenerative farming, saying much off our farm practice already fitted in the definition used overseas, especially in regard to maintaining soil and water quality , and said the regenerative tag on products could lead to a premium on beef and lamb exports .
He added there was a need to put in structures to increase research development and to increase the availability of quality affordable food domestically.