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Primary Sector Science Roadmap 'not all about food' - FOA

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The just released Primary Sector Science Roadmap features a pine tree nursery on its front cover.

The Forest Owners Association says this is a clear signal that the primary sector is not just a food sector.

The FOA president, Peter Clark, says size and importance of the forest sector for New Zealand, as at least the third most significant export category, is often ignored.

"A year ago, at Mystery Creek, John Key launched the Primary Industry Champions campaign for recruitment into the primary sector. It’s a hugely important project to fill the looming shortfall of many tens of thousands of workers in the primary sector," Peter Clark says.

"But the problem was that it ignored everything but food. There was nothing in the publicity about forestry, nor for that matter other fibres such as wool."

Peter Clark says even though the cover illustration of the new science roadmap is symbolic the content of the roadmap for the forest industry backs this up.

"We have case studies from forestry and related industries in it. It’s much more comprehensive than earlier drafts. It will be very useful in attracting funding and gives our sector a greater confidence to invest."

"Forestry science covers a lot of different fields; from the obvious value in breeding programmes for growing better trees and selecting them for specific environments, through the engineering of safe and efficient harvesting, and along to the exciting technology of building earthquake resistant high-rise wooden buildings."

"The roadmap may be a little deficient in detailing the role of science to protect from introduced pests and diseases," Peter Clark says, "But on the other hand I’m pleased to see the roadmap addresses the need for the use of modern genetic technology. It makes it clear that other countries are recognising the advantages of a range of methods to achieve precise and valuable results in plant and animal breeding. We need to keep up with them."

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