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We talk to CEDA Board Member Lucy Griffiths, following her appointment to the independent Investment Advisory Panel for Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) about how regional New Zealand could leverage SFF Futures and what it could mean for the future of our primary industries.

Kia ora koutou,

Last year I was appointed to the Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) Panel which co-invests in innovative projects that will make a positive and lasting difference in the food and fibre sectors of Aotearoa.

The food and fibre industries are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, and collectively deliver more than $42 billion in export revenue annually. SFF Futures is designed to add more value to what the industries are already doing in a sustainable way that means our natural resources will be there for future generations, prioritising product value over volume.

Lucy Griffiths

Lucy Griffiths, CEDA Board Member

The SFF Futures fund is already co-investing in a wide range of projects that are incredibly diverse such as;

  • investigating the commercial viability of turning Undaria, a pest seaweed, into a new high value food product;
  • developing a seed certification system to protect and grow New Zealand’s $400 million seed industry;
  • supporting research that explores planting native plants and cover crops as an alternative to herbicides and cultivation in viticulture;
  • researching ways to increase the yield of established olive groves to support the demand for New Zealand extra virgin olive oil.

Having launched in late 2018, the SFF Futures Programme is in its early days and yet the pipeline of innovative and solutions-focused projects and ideas is strong. It offers grants of less than $100,000, right up to multi-million dollar, multi-year partnerships. Projects can be national in scale or related to just one community. If you have a great project, I encourage you to contact the SFF Futures team about it, even if it is in its infancy.

I am looking forward to seeing Manawatū front and centre in co-ordinating and collaborating with Government to fast track innovation in the food, farming and fibre sectors. Our region has the knowledge, skills, land and collaborative partners to pioneer the changes that are required for New Zealand to survive and thrive this decade and into the future, with some of the world’s most innovative food scientists, plant researchers, and processing pilot plants based here. The region is already on the map as a global agrifood hub and is poised to stay this way as it adapts to consumers changing needs.

As the home of New Zealand AgriFood Week 2020, Manawatū will once again bring together leaders and innovators in agriculture, science and technology to solve global food challenges. I am looking forward to watching the Week unfold and discovering innovative projects and ideas that have the ability to transform the food and fibres sectors of Aotearoa.

Ngā mihi,
Lucy Griffiths
CEDA Board Member

The advisory panel provides independent expert advice on both funding proposals and active programmes within food and fibre industries in New Zealand, reviewing and advising on applications seeking $1 million or more.

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