Government backs more initiatives to boost food and fibre workforce

The Government is backing more initiatives to boost New Zealand’s food and fibre sector workforce, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

“The Government and the food and fibres sector have been working hard to fill critical workforce needs.  We've committed to getting 10,000 more Kiwis into the sector over the next four years,” said Damien O’Connor

New workforce initiatives being backed by the Government include:

  • Up to $240,000 to fund an on-the-job mentoring programme aimed at building experience for Kiwis new to agricultural contracting.
  • Funding for two horticulture career development managers in Pukekohe and Canterbury to direct seasonal effort and resource where required.
  • Establishing a Food and Fibre Youth Network and Council with NZ Young Farmers to provide input into workforce and other issues.
  • Running Innovation Activator workshops with Rural Women NZ to fast track their entrepreneurial ideas.

"These initiatives follow work we've already done over the past eight months through the Opportunity Grows Here campaign and training initiatives that’s resulted in 3,694 more people working in the food and fibre sector,” said Damien O'Connor.

"The agricultural contracting programme is a good example of how we're partnering with industry. It will be delivered by agricultural work specialists, HanzonJobs and targets job seekers affected by COVID-19, Ministry of Social Development clients, and 18-24 year olds who aren’t in education, employment or training.

“The Food and Fibre Youth Network and Council will provide a formal pan-sector youth voice to raise matters such as workforce issues and provide input into critical decisions to guide the future of the sector.

“There’s no shortage of talented people in our rural communities,” said Damien O’Connor.  “The Activator sessions provide the opportunity for rural women to have intensive, mentor-led sessions with experts to help bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life.

“By harnessing these ideas and helping to get them off the ground, we will be building capability within the sector, and future employment opportunities.

"These investments in people move us along our Fit for a Better World Roadmap, which aims to accelerate our primary sector’s economic potential."