Gisborne and Wairoa are to trial a new government proposal to improve farmland productivity.
Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said today that the Government had approved
$240,000 of funding over the next three years to provide a lead adviser to help improve the farming of under-utilised
land in Gisborne and Wairoa districts.
The funding is to be used by the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry to set up a new scheme to develop a co-ordinated
programme of activities targeted at helping to improve the farming of under-utilised land. Under-utilisation is often
associated with complex multiple ownership.
Mr Sutton said this was the first time he was aware of that such a scheme had been set up. Previously, MAF has not been
funded to provide farming facilitation.
Mr Horomia said the money, from a government contingency fund, would be used by MAF to employ a Gisborne-based adviser
to work with local government, government departments, Maori, and the private sector in the Gisborne and Wairoa
The position is to be advertised as suitable for an experienced farm consultant with previous experience in working with
farmers, including those in multiple ownership situations.
Mr Sutton said researchers working for MAF had found a considerable similarity in views and objectives between farmers,
but some significant gaps in farm performance levels.
The new programme would encourage a more rapid uptake of modern management practices and technology on farms with
Mr Sutton and Mr Horomia said higher productivity and greater profitability on farms with under-utilised land would
result in better employment opportunities, wages, and working conditions for farm managers and farm workers, and higher
dividend payments for landowners. In the Gisborne and Wairoa districts, a significant number of these are Maori.
Office of Hon Jim Sutton