A boost for rural community hub and catchment group projects in South Canterbury

Community resilience and best land management practices in South Canterbury will be strengthened through government support for two farmer-led projects, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“We are investing $610,000 over three years in the Hakataramea Sustainability Collective to help landowners in the Hakataramea Valley farm more sustainably and improve community well-being,” said Damien O’Connor.

“Our goals across New Zealand are to see rural communities thrive, the primary sector driving our economic recovery from COVID-19 and to put agriculture on a truly sustainable path. These goals all work in tandem.

“Catchment groups inspire communities to restore our rivers – within a generation – and fight climate change. In doing so, they build stronger communities and strengthen our export credentials.

“This funding will allow the collective to develop an integrated environmental plan specific to the 89,000-hectare Hakataramea watershed, and to carry out demonstration projects.

“Landowners will be able to use watershed-specific resources and research to develop their skills and capacities, and strengthen their individual Farm Environmental Plans (FEPs).”

Hakataramea Sustainability Collective will receive $550,000 for the capture group project over three years. The remaining $60,000 is additional funding for the district’s rural community center, which the Collective received $30,000 to set up in early 2021.

Damien O’Connor said the work of the Hakataramea Sustainability Collective reflected what was important to people in the area.

“The hub is off to a great start and other community initiatives they have put in place will add to the resilience and vibrancy of the area,” said Damien O’Connor.

“It shows what people can achieve when they come together. Their emphasis on understanding biodiversity through the local school and training people in disaster preparedness will have long-term benefits. »

The funding comes on top of at least $8.4 million already allocated to support catchment groups and rural community centers in the wider Canterbury region by the government.

A key part of the government’s Fit for a Better World roadmap is to restore freshwater environments to a healthy state within a generation and increase food and fiber sector exports by an additional $44 billion over 10 years.

“Catchment groups provide a valuable platform to promote good on-farm practices and sustainable land management, showcase innovation and success, and positively change the dial for the environment,” said Damien O’ Connor.

The government has invested in over 170 farmer-led catchment groups across the country, which are supported by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

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