New Zealand Forest Owners Assn. business plan among first three to receive funding allocation from MAF's Primary Growth Partnership

WELLINGTON, New Zealand , May 25, 2010 (press release) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Director-General Murray Sherwin today announced the first allocation of funding to industry from the Primary Growth Partnership.

The Investment Advisory Panel recently recommended three business plans for funding, collectively seeking $20m for projects of between five and seven years. All three were approved by Mr Sherwin, creating government-industry partnerships worth more than $45m. The Primary Growth Partnership is a government-industry initiative that will invest in significant programmes of research and innovation to boost the economic growth and sustainability of New Zealand’s primary, forestry and food sectors.

The first business plans to be approved are led by the Foundation for Arable Research, the New Zealand Forest Owners Association and the New Zealand Merino Company. Funding has been tagged for a diverse range of projects including harvesting trees on steep country, radically expanding the merino industry in New Zealand and using natural deterrents in grass to keep birds at bay.

Murray Sherwin says the three industry groups have gone through a rigorous process to get to this point.

“These applicants put in proposals in the first application round, which closed in October 2009. Since then, each of the business plans which were subsequently called for has been scrutinised by the Investment Advisory Panel and MAF staff.
“This has been a thorough process, which is critical when investing taxpayers’ money.

“I’m confident these business plans present ideas that will transform parts of the primary sector and that in years to come, 2010 will be seen as the year when a very fruitful partnership between the government and the primary sectors truly took off.”

Investment Advisory Panel Chairman Bill Falconer says the IAP put applicants through a rigorous test to prove their ability to deliver on their objectives and provide benefit to New Zealand. A further four industry groups who submitted proposals in Round Two are developing business plans in their bid for funding, and the IAP will soon review the 11 proposals received in Round Three.

Details of all three business plans are available at www.maf.govt.nz/pgp/

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