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The government will spend up to $21 million to establish a network of open-access food development facilities across the country, Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee announced this week.

Small- and medium-sized companies who need to do development work but find it uneconomical to individually build their own faciltities or invest in new capital equipment, will have access to these facilities spread across four innovation hubs.

The new initiative, called Food Innovation Network New Zealand, will be a collaboration between the government, industry, research and education providers and local government.  It will have four regional hubs in Manukau, Waikato, Palmerston North and Canterbury and an overarching network organisation.

Food and beverage accounts for over half of New Zealand’s export earnings.  Directly or indirectly, the sector employs one in five of the working population.

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