2020 has demonstrated just how important New Zealand’s food and fibres sector is to our economy and in turn the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Its future success relies on accelerating positive change to address the big industry challenges.

The Food & Fibres Aotearoa New Zealand Challenge is a new initiative designed to spur innovation; to encourage agribusinesses to focus on solutions in priority areas and help shape a better future for our sector.

The Challenge is a contestable fund for AGMARDT funding ranging from $50,000 up to $500,000 (inclusive of GST).

What are our objectives?

The overall objectives of the Food & Fibres Aotearoa New Zealand Challenge are to:

  • Support tailored, industry-led initiatives that contribute to a unified and aligned food and fibres sector with a common understanding and commitment to what needs to be done
  • Foster positive environmental change and sustainability with a commitment to a zero-carbon economy
  • Assist the food and fibres value chain to respond to changing consumer behaviours and move towards premiumisation
  • Align regional or place-based leadership to deliver outcomes for NZ Inc. while also providing regional resilience and growth; and
  • Provide a future view of market and global drivers that influence the sector.

Who can apply

The Challenge is open to any project led by New Zealand businesses, communities of interest or sector groups connected with the food and fibres sector.

The projects must look to solve the big issues in the following priority areas where we believe change is most needed:

  • Designing catchment and/or regional solutions to solve the challenges of carbon, waste management, environmental and biodiversity issues that will benefit New Zealand as a whole
  • Emissions – opportunities for farmers and growers to de-carbonise their farming systems
  • Sustainable food packaging
  • Waste – minimising waste from the food and fibres sectors through leveraging the circular economy.

What else are we looking for?

  • Collaboration and partnership and a commitment to benefit the broader food and fibres sector
  • Working to deliver improvement across the New Zealand food and fibres value chain, responding to changing consumer behaviour and growing value
  • Initiatives can be placed-based as long as they deliver outcomes that will benefit New Zealand
  • We’ll support early stage thinking and initiatives as long as they can demonstrate a champion to drive progress on outcomes.

How to apply

You can apply now by completing a short and simple Expressions of Interest Application form:

We will then review all expressions of interest and develop a shortlist.

Projects that make the shortlist will then be required to complete a more detailed application form.


  • Stage 1 Expressions of Interest applications close 22 January 2021
  • Notification of the Trustees’ decision will be made by 12 February 2021
  • Stage 2 full funding application (by invitation only) close 12 March 2021
  • Notification of the Trustees’ decision will be made by 14 April 2021