6 Aug 2012

Funding boost for Maori farms

10:01 am on 6 August 2012

Money to fund sustainability improvements has been set aside for Maori agribusiness for the first time since the former Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry established a fund in 2000 to promote sustainable use of farming resources.

Ministry for Primary Industries officials have just opened a special funding round which offers $1 million of co-investment for projects by Maori.

The ministry's deputy director for Maori primary sector partnerships, Ben Dalton, says a catalyst for establishing the new fund was a BERL report that found many Maori farming businesses are underperforming.

"Obviously governance is a big issue, restrictions around Maori land legislation and decision-making processes, and the absence of suitably-qualified farm managers...the problems are easily identifiable: the cures may take longer," Mr Dalton says.

"Any applicants have to go through the same process as the general Sustainable Farming Fund," he says. "There's no discount because these are Maori projects.

"We're trying to raise the profile of the fund and attract some suitable Maori applicants."

Mr Dalton says applications for the special fund close at the end of August.