Reducing fruit loss in Central Otago - Validating global demand for fruit value streams
Project start: 15 September 2022
Project length: 31 March 2023
MPI funding: $21,750
Industry funding: $11,250
Industry partner: Central Otago District Council, LILO Desserts, Summerfruit New Zealand
Region: Central Otago
This project quantified the global demand trends for selected fruit value streams to help identify options for fruit that is currently grown in Central Otago but does not end up being sold or consumed by humans. The work has greatly increased the knowledge base for businesses looking to develop products from Central Otago fruit.
Validating demand for Central Otago fruit value streams report – Central Otago District Council
Central Otago fruit loss: The unrealised potential – Central Otago District Council
Taking stock: Resolving NZ’s cultivated plants problem
Project start: 31 July 2020
Project completed: 26 January 2023
MPI funding: $420,000
Industry funding: $471,500
Industry partner: Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Inc
This project confirmed the presence of several thousand exotic plant species in New Zealand, by adding resolved names to the BiotaNZ database and making submissions to the EPA. Part of this work involved combining – for the first time – nearly a quarter of a million collection records from botanic gardens and arboreta. This project helps address major knowledge gaps of what cultivated plants are present in New Zealand for faster, more informed plant importation and regulatory decisions, and improved access to new germplasm for plant production/breeding. Better documentation of our exotic flora will enable more effective management of biosecurity, pest plants, disease and biocontrol vectors, and living collections.
Meeting the demand for NZ extra virgin olive oil
Project start: 29 October 2019
Project completed: 7 October 2022
Project length: 3 years
MPI funding: $43,520
Industry funding: $65,280
Industry partners: Olives New Zealand
This project aimed to further increase the production of established olive groves. The researchers were able to increase yield per tree to an extra 5kg (20%) by ongoing best practices in disease and canopy management and nutrition. They also developed an alternate, more organic approach to production.
The project found it is possible to increase harvest by 5-10kg per tree by following-up using branch shakers after the machine harvester. The five trial groves continued to out-perform the average performance of regional groves that used conventional methods.
Focus Grove Project – Olives New Zealand
Cedenco trade waste disinfection
Project start: 12 May 2021
Project completed: 30 September 2022
MPI funding: $53,839
Industry funding: $103,647
Industry partners: Cedenco Foods New Zealand Limited
The project explored the most sustainable treatment method to treat wastewater being discharged from the Cedenco vegetable processing factory in Gisborne. Work undertaken included assessing the environmental effects on a wetland, examining opportunities for water re-use, and ensuring the methods adopted met compliance requirements and could be incorporated into the processing system.
Nutrient extraction from potatoes and kumara
Project start: 23 December 2020
Project completed: 6 September 2022
MPI funding: $79,600
Industry funding: $352,038
Industry partner: Powered by Plants Ltd
This project aimed to establish an economic way of using 'out-of-grade' potatoes and kumara, by developing higher value ingredients such as protein and starch. It developed a business case that proposes new ways to use these ingredients.
Takapau − A digital mat
Project start: 1 August 2021
Project completed: 1 August 2022
MPI funding: $157,580
Industry funding: $21,600
Industry partners: Haunui Technology Group Limited
Region: Hawke’s Bay
This project aimed to create an internet-of-things (IoT) platform to inform and improve farming practices on Māori-owned land in the Hawke’s Bay. Using the Te Aho Matua framework and Microsoft FarmBeats, the project has created a cloud-based platform with relevant environmental metrics. Data from land-based sensors and networks could not be collected in time due to supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant the project was unable to achieve all its intended outcomes. However, Haunui Technology Group plans to next use its cloud-based platform to monitor marine environments due to existing sensors in place.
Daffodil Galanthamine project
Project start: 20 August 2020
Project completed: 21 June 2022
MPI funding: $87,000
Industry funding: $76,050
Industry partners: Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Region: South Island
This project investigated whether daffodils could be cultivated in New Zealand for the production of Galanthamine, a compound used to treat Alzheimer’s. A variety of daffodils were grown in New Zealand conditions across 10 trial sites in various locations to enable a range of data points to be collected. Results from the trials have concluded that there is potential to produce Galanthamine in New Zealand conditions at a commercial scale.
Biodegradable plastic pots incorporating NZ ingredients
Project start: 21 March 2021
Project completed: 31 July 2022
MPI funding: $35,000
Industry funding: $53,000
Industry partner: Pinehurst Associates Ltd
This project successfully developed and manufactured a proof of concept for biodegradable plastic pots that will last 12 months above ground before biodegrading. This would be an alternative for the high impact pots used in nurseries and garden centres.
Organic sector strategy
Project start: January 2021
Project completed: November 2021
MPI funding: $212,500
Industry funding: $163,000
Industry partner: Organics Aotearoa New Zealand
Organics Aotearoa New Zealand worked with organic sector stakeholders and others interested in converting to organic to develop a three-year organic sector growth strategy. This will enable the industry to understand and plan for constraints and opportunities around organic consumption, production and processing growth. The strategy identified ways to leverage New Zealand’s organic standard locally and internationally.
Organic Sector Strategy 2022 – Organics Aotearoa New Zealand
Innovating for a sustainable future
Project start: 14 November 2020
Project completed: 15 January 2021
MPI funding: $104,500
Industry funding: $26,000
Industry partners: BioTech NZ, NZTech, AbbVie, Callaghan Innovation, MBIE, ATEED
This project produced an analysis of the state of biotechnology in New Zealand and its impact and benefits for the economy and society.
Aotearoa New Zealand boosted by biotech: Innovating for a sustainable future [PDF, 9 MB]
Envisi field trials
Project start: 25 September 2020
Project completed: 5 July 2021
MPI funding: $16,000
Industry funding: $46,000
Industry partner: Envisi Limited
Region: Auckland/Bay of Plenty
This project aimed to develop, manufacture and trial new agri-technology that would deter birds from budding kiwifruit using a novel patented polarised light system. The project did not produce the anticipated results.
Feasibility of growing hi-oleic peanuts in Northland
Project start: 21 September 2020
Project completed: 16 August 2021
MPI funding: $59,535
Industry funding: $31,785
Industry partner: Picot Productions Ltd, Plant & Food Research
Four sites were established at Kai iwi lakes, Te Kopuru, Ruawai, and Kerikeri to determine the feasibility of growing hi-oleic peanuts in Northland. Four cultivars were trialled, and valuable agronomic information was collected regarding varying soil types and specific weed, pest, and disease challenges. One cultivar performed well, suggesting commercial yields similar to average yields in Australia could be achieved. Further research is required to validate commercial viability.
Pic’s Peanut Butter to trial growing peanuts in Northland – MPI media release
Feasibility of growing Hi-Oleic peanuts in Northland: final report [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Kabocha innovation project
Project start: 15 September 2020
Project completed: 26 March 2021
MPI funding: $95,890
Industry funding: $143,835
Industry partners: Kabocha Milk Co
Region: Hawke’s Bay
This project successfully developed a 'kabochamilk' beverage for export to Asian markets, using lower-grade New Zealand grown buttercup squash. The SFF Futures co-investment boosted Kabocha Milk Co’s efforts to formulate, manufacture, and market a shelf-stable product. Kabochamilk is fully vegan, and free from artificial flavours and colours. The company has already made agreements with distributors in Japan and Korea.
New Zealand grown and manufactured Kabochamilk heading for Asian market – MPI media release
A scoping study of x-ray technology as a potential phytosanitary treatment for New Zealand fresh produce exports
Project start: 28 April 2020
Project completed: 21 December 2020
MPI funding: $96,832
Industry funding: $121,168
Industry partners: Apples and Pears
The horticulture industry investigated the potential use of x-ray technology for treating fruit and vegetables as a pest control treatment. The treatment is increasingly used globally and could provide new export opportunities for New Zealand. The report details fruit and vegetables suitable for x-ray treatment and the feasibility of building a facility in New Zealand based on potential use.
Redefining great food: more plants on more plates for more people (and a better planet)
Project start: 24 February 2020
Project completed: 1 October 2021
MPI funding: $312,787
Industry funding: $508,900
Industry partner: Food Nation
Food Nation worked in partnership with New Zealand producers to develop a diverse range of plant-based food (including fungi and algae) options that are nutritious and sustainable. Their product range is now sold in grocery stores across New Zealand.
New food technology brings vegetables centre stage – MPI media release
New food technology brings vegetables centre stage – Food Nation
Unified approach to vegetable on-farm biosecurity
Project start: 18 January 2020
Project completed: 22 July 2020
MPI funding: $14,700
Industry funding: $24,900
Industry partners: Onions NZ (lead), Vegetables NZ Inc, Tomatoes NZ Inc, Processed Vegetables Inc, New Zealand Buttercup Squash Council, NZ Asparagus Council
Onions New Zealand developed two on-farm biosecurity manuals for covered crops and outdoor crops, in collaboration with other product groups in the vegetable sector. The case studies explain the impacts, procedures and reactive methods that were used in New Zealand during previous horticultural incursions.
Download Vegetable Growers’ On-Farm Biosecurity Manual: Guide for Covered Crops – Vegetables NZ Inc.
Download Vegetable Growers’ On-Farm Biosecurity Manual: Guide for Outdoor Crops – Vegetables NZ Inc.
Phosphine treatment of avocados
Project start: 25 November 2019
Project completed: 2 March 2021
MPI funding: $40,000
Industry funding: $60,000
Industry partner: New Zealand Avocado
New Zealand Avocado tested treating avocados to reduce the presence of common quarantine pests, while maintaining fruit quality. Researchers found 3,000ppm phosphine for 48 hours is a promising treatment, achieving 100% mortality of scale insects and approximately 20% of mould mites with minimal impacts to fruit quality.
Food safety to meet challenging markets
Project start: 27 August 2019
Project completed: 14 July 2022
MPI funding: $596,854
Industry funding: $419,090
Industry partner: New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc
This project developed procedures and guidance for managing the risk of food borne pathogens on apples and pears. It received positive engagement from industry, particularly in training and extension programmes, and in applying new food safety practices. The strong commitment from growers has led to some packhouses sharing their learnings – and even their monitoring and cleaning crews – to improve practices across the board. The revised approach will help ensure New Zealand apple and pear production and fruit handling systems continue to meet the requirements of export markets.
Sustainable vineyard floor project
Project start: 25 July 2019
Project completed: 30 September 2020
MPI funding: $23,050
Industry funding: $34,576
Industry partner: Villa Maria Estate
Region: Hawke’s Bay
Villa Maria investigated an alternative to the conventional practice of maintaining the area under grapevines as bare dirt using chemical or mechanical methods. It researched the impact of planting native plants and cover crops under the vines instead of using herbicide.
Native plants trialled as an alternative to herbicides in vineyards [PDF, 1.1 MB]