New Zealand: from peanuts to peanut industry
The New Zealand Government is providing nearly $700,000 in research funding to a peanut-growing trial in Northland, on the tip of the country’s North Island, to see if a commercial peanut industry is viable. Seven sites will play host to the peanut farms over the course of two years, funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SSF Futures) fund.
Northland Inc will take the reins of the project. In addition to the funds provided by the government, $300,000 in cash and in-kind support will come from Northland Inc, Picot Productions, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research, and local Northland landowners.
The funding comes on the back of a six-month study, undertaken by Picot Productions, into the feasibility of the country’s northern tip being an appropriate region for peanut farming. The region was originally attractive due to its ideal soil temperature and composition. The MPI contributed almost $60,000 to that study, also through the SFF Futures fund. You can read the published study here.
The new project, with its almost $1 million budget, will assess whether there is the potential for a successful commercial peanut market. New Zealand largely imports its peanuts from Australia, so a local industry would mean a cash boost for the country, in addition to creating jobs.
“Establishing a peanut industry in Northland would help diversify its regional economy, create employment both on-and-off farm, and support investment opportunities. It will also provide another crop rotation option for local landowners,” said Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programs.
“Plus, we could eventually bring a 100% New Zealand-grown and -manufactured peanut butter to market. That’s an exciting prospect.”
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