One-off offer of free manuka seedlings to landowners

Published: Wed 16 May 2018 01:14 PM
One-off offer of free manuka seedlings to landowners
Te Uru Rakau (Forestry New Zealand) is partnering with Manuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million manuka seedlings across New Zealand. These seedlings will be provided free of charge to landowners that meet eligibility criteria.
Manuka Farming New Zealand (MFNZ) General Manager Stephen Lee says one of the conditions of being eligible to receive manuka seedlings is that landowners must commit to planting them in 2018.
Mr Lee said MFNZ will undertake free site assessments to assess land suitability for establishing a manuka plantation. They will also provide a Plantation Establishment Plan.
“It’s an opportunity to plant 1.8 million manuka trees on around 1,635 hectares across New Zealand,” he says.
“We have a large range of developed, tested and trialed high performance manuka varieties designed and tailored for specific regions, as well as eco-sourced varieties suitable for planting at or near their source. MFNZ is providing wrap-around services to ensure greater planting and growing success.”
Te Uru Rakau has contracted MFNZ to facilitate and manage planning, and assessing the suitability of sites, for manuka plantations to be planted this winter.
“This is great opportunity for landowners to plant manuka on their land,” says Julie Collins, Head of Te Uru Rakau.
“To get the very best possible outcomes, we need to ensure the right manuka seedlings are matched to the land. MFNZ has experience and expertise in this area. This initiative will contribute to the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme.”
Mr Lee said there is no maximum limit on the size of the proposed plantations that landowners can apply for, however, the land approved for planting will be determined as part of the assessment process.
“Ideally the land is already free of weeds and pests as this will enable planting to take place between July and September.”
Mr Lee said while there is no minimum plantation size, larger-sized plantations will be assessed more favourably, as the opportunities for producing higher quality manuka honey increases with plantation size.
Landowners will need to cover the costs of packing and dispatching the seedlings from the nursery, site preparation including pest and weed control, fencing if required, planting costs and post-plant monitoring.
Landowners will not be eligible for this offer for land that has received grant funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries for planting in 2018, through programmes such as the Afforestation Grant Scheme, Hill Country Erosion Programme, or the Erosion Control Funding Programme.
MFNZ will also work with relevant councils and government agencies to help facilitate investment that could be available to landowners for planting.
Interested landowners should contact MFNZ to register their interest by May 23.
Where applicable, landowners will be entitled to keep the carbon credits that accrue from the plantation.
ABOUT Manuka Farming New Zealand (MFNZ)
MFNZ was formed in 2011 as a result of a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called High-Performance Manuka Plantations. Through a seven year programme of research and pilot plantations, new knowledge has been developed about how to establish and manage high performing manuka plantations for the production of medical grade manuka honey. MFNZ was established to make that knowledge available to landowners.
MFNZ contains shareholding representing strong primary sector and apiary interests, including Comvita NZ Limited; Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, DC and CY Tweeddale Partnership; Nukuhau Carbon Limited; Landcorp Farming Limited and Te Tumu Paeroa.
The partnership has 15 manuka a trial sites on 400ha across New Zealand. These sites have been monitored for manuka survival, growth, floral density and nectar quantity and production, stocking rates, pest and weed issues, nectar production and honey production.
MFNZ provides consultancy services on the establishment of manuka plantations, including initial assessment, site visits, development of master plans on plantation and apiary establishment and management, and financial forecasting, plantation and apiary establishment, monitoring and honey harvesting.
MFNZ has delivered some positive results from its trial plantations. It is now working with many landowners around New Zealand predominantly in the North Island.

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