A Food Innovation Hub is to be built in Hawke’s Bay, made possible by the latest Provincial Growth Fund investment in the region, announced in late-September.
The region’s local government leaders are welcoming the announcement of $12 million of funding towards the hub project, which they will help unlock Hawke’s Bay’s potential in the food, beverage and agri-tech sectors as well as industry training and development.
The hub will provide a venue to foster innovation and collaboration and build industry skills and competency, according to Hastings District Council.
“This is crucial for the regional economy and the creation of employment opportunities to the region.”
An industry-led governance group, supported by Hawke’s Bay councils, has been working on establishing a Food Innovation Hub for more than two years.
A Business Case has estimated the construction and net operating costs will be about $18 million. And with a regional contribution of $6 million and now the PGF’s investment of $12 million, the governance group will be able to secure tenants for the hub and build the facility in Hastings.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says her council believes the project will support the region’s producers by enabling them to adapt, innovate and develop new products, new markets “and introduce new technologies that will support everything and everyone in the food industry”.
“The Hub will be a ‘Think Tank’ to share ideas and develop new and exciting ways to grow and market our produce.”
Acting Napier Mayor Faye White says an economic impact assessment has indicated the Food Innovation Hub would generate 500 or more full-time skilled jobs in the region and contribute more than $100 million during 10 years to the regional domestic product “which will benefit all of our region”.
Central Hawke’s Bay mayor Alex Walker, Mayor says the huge potential being unlocked by this PGF investment is incredibly exciting.
“This is a unique opportunity to establish a Food Innovation Hub facility that will facilitate innovation in our primary sector as we seek higher value products, businesses and employment.”
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the funding, coupled with $64million invested by the PGF across Hawke’s Bay in June, shows the region is a priority for the Government “and this support will go a long way to improve the lives and wellbeing of our whole community”.
HB Regional Council chair Rex Graham says the investment will put Hawke’s Bay at the forefront of food innovation in New Zealand.
“We have two leading Hawke’s Bay food processing businesses seriously considering making a significant commitment to the hub, providing strong support for this facility.”
Delivery of the Food Innovation Hub will also support future opportunities for a Centre of Vocational Excellence being looked at by EIT.
Construction of the Food Innovation Hub is expected to get underway in September 2020 and is due for completion by December 2021.