A $1.5 million fund to help landowners in the Lake Rotorua Catchment try alternative land uses is open for expressions of interest.
Anna Grayling, Principle Advisor Rotorua Catchments at Bay of Plenty Regional Council says they are seeking expressions of interests from all landowners, big or small, who may be interested in trialling possible low nitrogen land uses in the Lake Rotorua catchment.
“The fund will help set-up practical small or large scale working examples of ways land can be used to develop new income streams for farmers other than traditional farming.”
“We want people to try new crops or ventures on the land, so we can share the knowledge learnt to other landowners. We want to know what does and doesn’t work in the catchment, can it be profitable, what are the pitfalls and any other learnings along the way.”
Examples of alternative land uses could include growing Kakakawa for traditional Maori medicine, Manuka oil plantations, crops not yet trialled in the catchment or even establishing agri-tourism ventures.
“This funding is not for research projects. It is for practical applications on the land for ideas that have already been vetted as possible in the catchment,” says Anna.
Work has already been undertaken to identify the various low nitrogen land diversification options in Rotorua. This information is available in the Rotorua Land Use Directory or as a booklet for the Regional Councils offices.
“We have identified the possibilities, we now want people to trial the options. This fund is not about landowners selling their nitrogen. That is a separate fund. Landowners do not need to sell nitrogen to receive this funding,” says Anna.
“Funding can be used towards set-up costs, consultants and support to get the new land use going, or even marketing costs for the new venture. The funding is about removing the financial barriers to help people give alternative land uses a go.”
“Our aim is to have working small or large scale examples in the Lake Rotorua catchment that can then convert part or all of their land to low nitrogen land uses,” she says.
Support will be available to help people complete the expressions of interest and develop their idea.
The fund has a minimum funding level of $10,000. Any applications more than $200,000 will need to have other sources of funding to contribute to the project.
Expressions of interest are open until Friday September 28. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact the Regional Council or visit www.rotorualakes.co.nz for more information.