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National Science Challenges are dedicated and designed to break new ground in areas of science that are crucial to New Zealand’s future. In our case, this means, tackling the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing our country in the area of primary production, and the complex relationship it has with our precious land and water resources.
Enhancing New Zealand’s primary sector production and productivity while maintaining or improving land and water quality is our aim. The vision for Our Land and Water is that New Zealand is world-renowned for integrated and successful land based primary production systems, supported by healthy land and water and capable people. We currently have 16 research programmes underway and have completed seven research projects so far that specifically target our aim and are working towards our future vision.
A fundamental driver in the Challenge is the importance of Maori playing a more active role in the sustainable management and economic development of our land and water resources. This takes shape in a vision mātauranga strategy that is woven into our Challenge’s research programmes.
New Zealand currently earns approximately $37 billion from primary sector exports, but these same products are sold in international markets for an estimated $250 billion. That means New Zealand is missing out on more than $200 billion in profit for some of our nation’s best produce. The Challenge is using science to find out how we can capture more of that value for our producers. There is also very real potential for water quality limits to impact primary production across the country so we’re using science and data to determine what best land uses are most suitable and sustainable in a variety of different environments.
Our Challenge is trying to answer the difficult questions from producers and industry such as: how much can I reduce my environmental footprint and still be profitable? If this footprint is still too much, then what other land uses can I change to and where in the landscape is this most profitable and most sustainable? These questions need to be answered quickly.
Click here to read more information on the Challenge and to keep up-to-date with us, click here to visit our website, Facebook or Twitter pages.