New ‘Data Supermarket’ serves up fresh options for regional food production

by | May 24, 2023 | News

Te Puke is world-famous in New Zealand as our kiwifruit capital – but new research shows that top spot could  be contested in future, with suitable kiwifruit production land identified in Waikato, Taranaki and the top of  the South Island – even stretching down to Canterbury.

Information about the land use suitability and production potential of a wide variety of crops became much  easier to find today, with the launch of the Data Supermarket.

The Data Supermarket is a new online storehouse of data about the ingredients, food and fibre we can grow  in New Zealand, now and in the future. It includes information about a wide variety of vegetable, fruit, arable,  animal, plant and tree crops, plus climate and economic data.

“The goal of this work is to help New Zealand’s primary sector identify a much greater range of suitable land  opportunities,” says research lead Dr Robyn Dynes, of AgResearch.

“We know we can grow a much greater range of food and fibre in New Zealand. But the question has been:  what will grow well, where? Our research aims to help people answer that.”

The data repository contains a wide range of datasets with information on suitability, yield maps, climate  change impacts and economic information.

“Farm advisors with good technical skills will be able to use the data to create a short-list of potential land-use  options that may be feasible, for their clients to consider as candidates for in-depth business cases from local  experts,” says Dr Dynes.

“Our hope is that by bringing these datasets together and providing open access, innovators will also see  potential to create new tools.”

A large team of researchers from multiple institutes and scientific disciplines produced these datasets as part  of the Land Use Opportunities: Whitiwhiti Ora research programme funded by the Our Land and Water  National Science Challenge.

This reliable and robust data is freely available to everyone planning or providing advice on land-use options  in New Zealand. The wide range of new datasets provide a broad understanding of the benefits and  consequences of many land use opportunities.

The datasets were created between 2020 and 2023. The range of datasets is still growing, with researchers  creating and curating environmental, economic, social and cultural information for different land use options.

Each dataset includes information about its limitations and how the data was produced. Access to GIS  software is required to use and interpret spatial data after downloading it from the Data Supermarket.

Data is open-access and suitable for New Zealand use only. The information can be downloaded for use in  third-party tools.

The Data Supermarket is now accessible at https://landuseopportunities.nz. A practical webinar at 12:30pm  on 31 May 2023 will demonstrate how to find what you need at the Data Supermarket and discuss who it’s  for, how to use it, and when and where use is appropriate. Register for the webinar via Zoom.

Photo by David Pupăză on Unsplash

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