AgITO helping primary industry prosper

Saturday 17 May 2008, 8:42AM
By Hon Jim Anderton

The Agriculture Industry Training Organisation is playing its part in enabling our primary industries to get skilled staff into satisfying careers, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today.

Jim Anderton told the Agriculture ITO’s annual meeting in Wellington that some rural industries have had a hard time attracting young people to farming.

“It has required thinking about isolation, incomes, the strength of regional communities and about those in regional economies. Agri-businesses have to compete with everyone else for skilled staff.

“Today we’re seeing a demand for skilled people which is being generated by record growth and profitability in a number of sectors. The bottom line is we need many more people to meet the demand from the primary industries.

“For the work this organisation does in helping to meet the demand, I congratulate you. And I believe you are helping New Zealanders gather the skills they need to lift our industry to the greater heights our primary industries must reach.”

Jim Anderton said the Government was playing its part through initiatives such as the NZ Fast Forward fund, which would see $700 million of Government funding invested in innovation in the food and pastoral sectors.

“When I think of the innovation and potential for our primary industry that the Fund can open up, I am excited about the career opportunities that will be available to them.

“Our primary industries are our most science-based, our most research and development-based, and our most innovative industries.

“There is as much science in landing a fresh gold kiwifruit or lamb chop in a foreign supermarket, as there is in a flat screen television.”

He said our primary industries were growing faster than the average of the rest of our economy and they have been since the eighties.

“That growth is based on increasing sophistication of the sector. Our primary production depends more and more on our creativity, our science and research, and our skills.

“As we look to the future, we are only going to prosper on the basis of more creativity, more science, research and higher skill levels.”