Thursday, May 30, 2024

Seaweed business anchors funding for world-first plant

The Government is set to invest in an innovative $1.5 million project that looks like to create the world’s first commercial seaweed-based nanocellulose manufacturing plant.

The project in Paeroa in the Waikato is being supported with a $750,000 loan from the Government’s Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, Minister of Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash announced today.

“The investment will allow Māori-owned AgriSea New Zealand, a well-established family company producing biostimulants from native seaweed for horticulture and agriculture industries, to expand and diversify its current plant and produce commercial volumes of nanocellulose hydrogel,” Mr Nash said.

The product can be used in bio-composites, cosmetics, wound care and tissue engineering. The seaweed nanocellulose differs from tree-based sources and will supply a growing market both in New Zealand and offshore.

“This is an exciting development for the company and New Zealand. AgriSea has been operating successfully for 26 years and is already a recognised leader in seaweed and agricultural products,” the Minister said.

“Its strong commitment and investment in research and development of this new product, in partnership with Crown Research Institute Scion, is shining a light on the exciting potential of the Marine economy.

“Investing in AgriSea not only supports local job creation, but will help grow our regional economies and allow regional businesses to continue to innovate.

“The project aligns with the Government’s Aquaculture Strategy and its goal to reach $3 billion in annual sales by 2035. “The initiative also supports Waikato’s strategic regional economic development priorities of sustainable food and agriculture,” Mr Nash said.

The Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF) is the most recent of the six regional economic development funds administered by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit (Kānoa – RDU).

It aims to support regional economies to become more productive, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and Māori-enabling by delivering local approaches tailored to regions’ particular needs and advantages.

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