The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is providing an extra $3 million to the New Zealand Landcare Trust to improve New Zealand's waterways and promote sustainable management practices, says MPI's deputy director-general Agricultural and Investment Services, Karen Adair.
The funding from the Productive and Sustainable Land Use Programme will help the New Zealand Landcare Trust to employ up to 7 new staff, to provide vital services across the country to clean up waterways and promote more sustainable practices.
"This new funding will increase the trust's national coverage and enable them to employ a new team of regional coordinators to work with the farming community to integrate sustainable land and water management practices into their farming systems."
The new funding continues the government's support to farmers and others to help them make environmental and freshwater improvements.
"The assistance from the government to support both economically and environmentally sustainable farming practices is very encouraging and a strong endorsement of our work with the primary sector," said the trust's chief executive Dr Nick Edgar.
"This is a critical time for farmers to up their game and have a lasting positive impact on our freshwater ecosystems. The funding will effectively double the trust's on-ground network of regional coordinators supporting farmers across New Zealand'' said Dr Edgar.
Ms Adair said New Zealand's food and fibre products were in demand globally because of their high quality and our strong farming and growing credentials.
"Producing and exporting high-value products will be vital to New Zealand's recovery from COVID. By putting more resources into helping our farmers and growers to integrate more sustainable practices, we can clean up our waterways, and also create jobs and boost our agriculture export and tourism offerings."
The New Zealand Landcare Trust is an independent charitable organisation that focuses on effective catchment management to improve land and water quality. It currently supports around 75 catchment groups nationwide.
Landcare staff will be deployed to assist with MPI regional extension services projects. This is expected to make a strong contribution to the catchment work already underway through the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package.
As part of the Productive and Sustainable Land Use Programme, MPI is already supporting a group of 1,000 Southland farmers and growers through the Thriving Southland project, and 300 King Country farmers through King Country River Care and more partnerships are in the pipeline.
MPI currently provides $2.7 million to the New Zealand Landcare Trust for a variety of projects across New Zealand. The Ministry for the Environment also provides $800,000 each year to the Trust to support catchment groups.