New rural innovation lab secures Government funding

A new 'Rural Innovation Lab' has secured funding from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund.

A $400,000 grant from the fund will be used to help establish the facility at Massey University's Palmerston North campus.

The funding was announced by Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau who said the initiative aims to engage farmers and growers across Manawatū-Whanganui to drive new thinking in the primary sector  particularly digital farm opportunities.

"This initiative will help to develop and potentially support the commercialisation of new ideas and technologies which will improve land use in the primary sector," he said.

"For Manawatū-Whanganui in particular, land use optimisation is a central plank in the region's economic action plan," said Mr Tabuteau.

"This project will help to unlock new economic opportunities across the region."

The Rural Innovation Lab is being supported by many organisations, including the Palmerston North City Council, Microsoft New Zealand, Massey University and local economic development agencies. 

"The Rural Innovation Lab is a model example of local people, businesses and the community progressing a project that aligns with their economic aspirations.  The Government is proud to support this work."

Meanwhile the Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor has welcomed the Provincial Growth Fund's support of the project.

Damien O'Connor at the announcement of funding for the project.
Damien O'Connor at the announcement of funding for the project. Photo credit: Supplied

"This is another example of the Government and primary sector working together and working smarter to extract more value for our great kiwi products.  It reflects the appreciation we have of our provinces and what they do for our economy," he said.

"Sustainable value growth is the objective of our Government, and so is ensuring that that value flows right through our economy."