Government investment to support growth of Māori businesses and jobs in the primary sector

  • Total exports by Māori businesses have grown by 38% since 2017 to $872 million, with the majority from the food and fibre sector
  • Launch of Rautaki mo te Taurikura action plan to support the continued growth of Māori food and fibre sector
  • Support for Māori agribusiness innovation and workforce development
  • Co-investment in a trial embedding mātauranga Māori in farming practices to improve soil quality and clean up waterways.

The Government is investing in more on-the-ground support, innovation, and workforce development as part of a new plan to grow Māori businesses and jobs in the food and fibre sector, Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri announced today.

“Farmers are the backbone of our economy and our dedicated Māori primary sector plan is focussed on supporting the sector to thrive, so we can lift sustainability, maintain our international competitive edge and grow export value,” Meka Whaitiri said.

“We’re kick-starting that mahi by co-investing in a $723,200 project led by Māori farming company Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation, which operates 42,000 hectares of whānau farms in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

“The project will involve an innovative trial embedding mātauranga Māori into farming practices, delivering measurable environmental benefits around improving soil quality and cleaning up waterways.”

“Investing in projects like this will ensure our Māori agribusinesses can lift productivity across their land, by providing up to date advice to adjust their practices and innovate, so that growth in exports can continue and provide jobs across the sector,” Meka Whaitiri said.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) will contribute $433,920 to the project.

New Zealand’s food and fibre exports are experiencing record highs, up 39 per cent since 2017.Total exports by Māori businesses have grown from $630 million in 2017 to $872 million in 2021, with the majority from the food and fibre sector.

“Today we launched Rautaki mo te Taurikura – Embracing change for prosperity, which is a detailed plan to support the Māori food and fibre sector and drive even more growth in the years to come,” Meka Whaitiri said.

“This builds on multiple investments from Budget 2022, including $34 million to put extra Māori agribusiness advisors in the regions, and $35 million to support Māori-led innovation and mātauranga-based approaches to reducing on-farm emissions.

“This includes the use of workshops, targeted groups, field days and other on-farm activities to share the most up to date information on low emissions practices.

“We’ve also invested in projects to help landowners improve their productivity, create training opportunities and jobs, and develop innovative practices and products to grow Māori exports.”

“Māori are uniquely positioned to convert the challenges ahead into opportunities – and to lead the way for others to do the same,” Meka Whaitiri said.

“Purchasing decisions of consumers abroad are increasingly being driven by their values, as they question how products were produced and by who. New Zealand’s future opportunities lie in aligning with their values, and this sector plan helps take us there,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

“Supporting the Māori primary sector to expand and achieve its aspirations is a key part of the Government and sector’s Fit for a Better World roadmap, which aims to add $44 billion to primary sector export revenue across the next 10 years.”

The Rautaki mo te Taurikura plan will be reviewed in 2024.

The plan can be downloaded here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/54376

Notes to the editor:

Budget 2022 also included $40 million to deliver industry transformation plans for the food and beverage, fisheries, and the forestry and wood processing sectors, which we’re developing in partnership with industry and Māori.”

Other SFF Futures initiatives with Maori include a $19.9 million project with Spring Sheep to expand into the Taranaki region in partnership with Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) and an $11.6 million programme with Ngāi Tahu Farming Limited and Ngāi Tūāhuriri to take part in a whole-farm scale study in North Canterbury to validate the science of regenerative farming.

The Government’s commitment to helping farmers adapt to shifting consumer expectations is demonstrated by the co-investment of about $530 million with the sector across 230 SFF Futures projects to date.