22 Feb 2012

Beef and lamb consortium passes first funding hurdle

7:32 am on 22 February 2012

The Ministry of Agriculture says a new application for Government funding to boost productivity in the red meat sector would not conflict with or duplicate a project that is already receiving support.

A proposal by a New Zealand-led beef and lamb consortium has passed the first hurdle in winning Primary Growth Partnership funding.

The PGP advisory panel has approved it for the next stage which is to develop a business plan.

The consortium will invest up to $37 million - with matching Government money - implementing the on-farm elements of the red meat sector strategy announced in 2011.

However, chief executive of the Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative Keith Cooper has condemned the project.

He says it will duplicate and undermine another project receiving funding, Farm IQ, which aims to create an integrated value chain for red meat.

But MAF says avoiding any overlap with existing programmes, including Farm IQ, is a condition of it getting approval.

MAF says that means it is to focus on beef and lamb's core role as an industry good provider behind the farm gate and complement other projects.