Fresh produce exporters and fruit science researchers in New Zealand stand to benefit from record funding handed out by the country's government this week.
The New Zealand government has awarded a record €380m (NZ$785m) in contracts to a number of state-owned science companies, universities and other researchers, including leading fruit science company HortResearch.
The contracts, awarded by research funding agency the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, are part of a change which started two years ago to switch almost 20 per cent of the country's annual allocation of money from contestable bidding to negotiated deals to provide more stable funding for scientists.
According to the organisation's chief executive Murray Bain, there have been significant increases in investments aimed at directly helping exporters, with strong support in particular for research in the primary sector.
The largest funding allocation has gone to the primary production sector, with about €18.4m (NZ$38m) in the first year in contested and negotiated contracts.
A further €16.9m (NZ$35m) will be spent in the first year to fund projects based on utilising natural resources, such as HortResearch's 'sumptuous summerfruit' work to develop a juicy new apricot variety, expected to be worth €7.3m (NZ$15m) a year in Europe.