Friday, May 24, 2024

$410k to boost farmer-led Waikato catchment group

The Government is investing in a farmer-led catchment group in South Waikato to help its on-the-ground efforts to improve land management practices, Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri announced today.

“We’ve allocated $410,000 over three years to the Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group to assist its work to restore the Pokaiwhenua Stream, which is a tributary of the Waikato River,” Minister Whaitiri said.

“The Pokaiwhenua has been identified as a high-priority catchment where improvements in water quality are needed.”

The catchment has 240 landowners and covers approximately 43,000 hectares from near Tokoroa to Lake Karapiro. 

“This funding will enable the farmer-led Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group to work with a larger number of landowners to develop ways to boost water quality and biodiversity in the catchment,” Ms Whaitiri said.

“The group will carry out water quality monitoring, coordinate education on freshwater, greenhouse gas emissions and protecting significant natural areas, and support farmers to develop Farm Environment Plans.”

The funding is on top of at least $3.6 million already allocated to support catchment groups across the Waikato region by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). This builds on work to support farmers’ hard work in leading New Zealand’s export-led recovery from COVID-19, which has contributed to record export returns.

“This aligns with a key component of the Government’s Fit for a Better World roadmap is to restore freshwater environments to a healthy state within a generation and grow food and fibre sector exports by an extra $44 billion over 10 years.”

“The improvements being made by farmers in catchment groups will keep us ahead of competitors, especially as opportunities like the Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom open up for us.

“Catchment groups provide a valuable platform to promote good on-farm practices and sustainable land management, showcase innovation and success, and positively shift the dial for the environment.

“Nationally, these groups provide on-the-ground support to more than 5,000 farmers, helping them access expertise and tools to improve their environmental and economic sustainability, not to mention wellbeing,” the Minister said.

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