August 28, 2014
Landcorp plantings boost manuka potential
New Zealand's largest farmer Landcorp is planting 93 hectares of manuka as part of a research project that could boost the prospects of Maori manuka honey producers.
The new plantings in the Wairarapa, Canterbury and Te Anau will double the capacity of the High Performance Manuka Plantations programme to conduct commercial field trials.
The programme is a seven year Primary Growth Partnership between the manuka honey industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries to increase the yield and reliability of supply of medical grade manuka honey.
The Maori Trustee Te Tumu Paeroa is a shareholder in the programme, which aims to increase the value of the manuka honey industry from an estimated $75 million annual revenue to $1.2 billion by 2028.
Landcorp property and environment manager Phil McKenzie says the antibacterial quality of manuka honey is well understood, but little is known about why the strength and consistency of these properties varies.
The trials are designed to test different ways of boosting manuka honey production through planting in different environments and climates. as well as testing the use of manuka for riparian planting and as a shelter for stock.
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