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May update: Food, Fibre and Innovation

The Mayoral Forum’s Food, Fibre and Innovation Programme (FFIP) identifies and promotes opportunities for sustainable, value-added primary production and high-value manufacturing.

This has been a priority for the Mayoral Forum since it initiated the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy in 2015. The Forum wants to grow the productive economy of Canterbury and create shared prosperity, while protecting our environment for future generations to enjoy.

Lead Mayor for the FFIP is Craig Rowley, Mayor of Waimate District. The FFIP is funded by a multi-year contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which was signed mid-2018. The Mayoral Forum delivers the programme through contracts with ChristchurchNZ and the University of Canterbury.

A lot is happening in the FFIP space, including initiatives to support regional recovery from COVID-19. The current work programme builds on and implements a Canterbury Food & Fibre Charter developed with the sector in the first year of the programme.

May 2020 update

The University of Canterbury has developed a database that captures information on all regional innovation companies, providers and support organisations. This database will be hosted and updated by ChristchurchNZ and will support individuals and businesses exploring new opportunities in the food and fibre sector.

Work led for the Mayoral Forum by ChristchurchNZ includes:

  • working with food, fibre and agritech industry leaders to identify the sector’s current labour needs
  • running a University of Canterbury Mini Challenge, with teams competing to develop an online event and marketing campaign to promote career opportunities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students in food, fibre and agritech
  • supporting the interim Canterbury Regional Skills Leadership Group that is looking, among other things, at migrant substitution
  • linking Work & Income clients to the food and fibre sector
  • building a website to promote education and training pathways to careers in food and fibre
  • co-funding a series of videos with the Tertiary Education Commission on Ngāi Tahu Farming, New Zealand Merino, Wedderspoon Honey and Plant & Food Research
  • preparing for a Food, Fibre and Agritech Challenge that will run between September 2020 and February 2021 – in partnership with and funded by AgResearch, KiwiNet, Vodafone and others
  • supporting the development of a data and insights tool that is being developed by Agribusiness and Economics Research, Lincoln University, which will include analysis of global market demand and help inform decisions about land use
  • working with Lincoln University’s Energy Demonstration Farm, with a view to attracting a national energy business to Canterbury.

Contact the secretariat if you want to know more.

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