Thursday, December 7, 2023

MPI sustainable futures panel members named

Three new members have been appointed to the independent Investment Advisory Panel (IAP) for Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures).

Alistair Scarfe of Tauranga, Andy Elliot of Nelson, and Mat Hocken of the Manawatū have were today named as the Panel’s newest members by Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor.

With $40 million annual MPI funding, SFF Futures supports problem-solving and innovation in New Zealand’s food and fibre industries, providing grants of less than $100,000, right up to multi-million-dollar, multi-year partnerships.

The IAP performs an important role in SFF Futures by providing independent expert advice on both funding proposals and active programmes.

The newest members bring additional expertise in science, innovation, technology development and commercialisation to the Panel, says Steve Penno, director of investment programmes at MPI.

“It’s important MPI has access to independent advice from experts with a range of disciplines, experience, and backgrounds to provide that extra reassurance that the projects we fund are robust and able to add enduring benefits to New Zealand,” says Mr Penno.

“With their range of experience and expertise, our new members are helping to ask the right questions and provide essential guidance.”

Alistair Scarfe

From dairy farming roots in the Wairarapa, Alistair Scarfe is director and chief technology officer of Robotics Plus. He has created and commercialised several world-first and globally awarded agritech systems, bringing together technology with a variety of business models to achieve commercial adoption. He is also an Industry Advisory Board member of the University of Waikato School of Engineering.

Andy Elliot.

Andy Elliot has a track record of commercialisation and business development within the aquaculture industry. He has recently been involved in the development of AuOra, a newly formed health and wellness business of Wakatū Incorporation. He was a 2018 Nuffield New Zealand scholar, and holds various board appointments including strategic adviser for Tasman Bay Berries.

Mat Hocken manages a fourth-generation family farm in the Manawatū. He is Chair of the Rural Innovation Lab, a farmer-led platform that facilitates the creation and delivery of adaptable solutions to farmers’ most common, urgent or biggest challenges. He is also Chair and Director of general partner companies for MyFarm investments in kiwifruit, apples, vineyards and agri-related commercial property.

Mr Hocken was a 2017 Nuffield New Zealand scholar, with a focus on innovation in agriculture. He also worked on EU policy in Brussels for 5 years, including competition, climate change, innovation and trade issues, and worked for more than 4 years in Sydney in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s trade finance agency.

Alistair Scarfe, Andy Elliot and Mat Hocken join existing IAP members Lucy Griffiths (Chair), Zoe Attwood and Anne-Marie Broughton.

Barry Brook, Harry Burkhardt and Steve Smith (outgoing Chair) retired from the Panel at the end of 2021, having served for 6 years.

SFF Futures Investment Advisory Panel

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