R&D Key in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND - Meat & Wool New Zealand says it has kept a solid R&D investment in its final Levy Proposal as a critical tool for improving farm performance.
calendar icon 6 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion says science affects all areas of business for farmers.

“Although we’ve cut our cloth due to a clear preference from farmers for a reduced spend, I believe we have successfully maintained strong value in our R&D investment by anticipating matching funding from the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership fund and ensuring we continue to benefit from joint-investment projects of value to sheep and beef farmers. Critically, R&D investment has to be part of a broad portfolio of activity undertaken by the sector, linking closely to market access and market development work. It cannot operate in isolation,” Dr Champion says.

“We strongly believe in investing in science to gain the knowledge that allows farmers to adapt and meet challenges, improve productivity, or gain an advantage in the market through superior product or greater efficiency.”

“If R&D was left up to commercial product developers only, a large amount of the fundamental work we support, alongside other funders such as DairyNZ and others, would not occur. It both creates opportunities and helps manage risks for sheep and beef farmers. Controlling the investment gives farmers control of the outcomes.”

Dr Champion says the approach outlined in the Levy Proposal received by farmers, mirrors the strong message that Meat & Wool New Zealand heard from farmers through the consultation round.

“Farmers wanted to see continued investment in research and development that’s relevant to them and delivers value to their farm business. The results of the research should be targeted and delivered to farmers, but equally, areas such as market access were also highly valued.”

The delivery component, or extension of the new technology or product to a farmer to use on-farm, is an area where Dr Champion says Meat & Wool New Zealand will be putting additional focus over the next five years. “We want our projects to have a positive impact on sheep and beef farming businesses and there’s no impact without use of the information. We have to put more focus on how we get information out to farmers and we’re setting ourselves some clear targets in this area.”

“The additional opportunity in front of us now is the Government’s recently announced Primary Growth Partnership programme which offers a substantial boost to research and development funding for the primary sector,” says Dr Champion. “In addition to levy funded research and development, we are also proposing to boost our R&D activity by drawing on $26 million of reserves and capital from the New Zealand Meat Board, which can then be matched dollar for dollar by the PGP fund.”

“This fund allows us to take a whole of value chain approach, with eligible projects being able to cover aspects of education, research and development, product development, commercialisation, market development and technology transfer. This is an exciting new opportunity for our sector and allows us to even more closely align the various elements of our work along the value chain.”

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