Value of NZ's primary exports double by 2025

The value of New Zealand's primary sector exports is predicted to double, on average, by 2025, with a further 33,000 jobs (to 403,000) generated in the sector by then.

The Ministry of Primary Industries released its Future Capability Needs for Primary Industries in New Zealand report earlier this month, which made predictions for the numbers of people needed to fill those jobs in forestry, sheep and red meat, fishing, arable, dairy, horticulture, dairy and associated support services as well as identifying an increased demand for formal tertiary qualifications.

The report said consumer demands were evolving and changing and there was a need to maintain and add value to products.

There would also be an increasing use of automation and robotics.

In addition, production units would become more specialised, sophisticated and larger, and there would be a growing demand for support services.

The report said that in 2012 about 44% of primary sector workers had a formal post-school qualification but by 2025 that figure was predicted to rise to 62%.

That is good news for tertiary institutions such as Lincoln University (of which Telford, is a division).

The biggest growth area was expected to be in the support services - a predicted 34% - which included science and research, management, marketing and sales, rural consultants, and other specialists.

The dairy industry would require a net increase of 2300 new workers by 2025, while the arable sector would require 4700 in the same time frame.

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton said the dairy industry was working to ensure there were good career opportunities in the dairy industry as well as quality education and training.

''One of the many issues of the wider agricultural sector was the failure to maintain its mainstream appeal,'' Mr Luxton said.

''We've really got to turn that around.''

Red meat and wool jobs are predicted to drop by 6500 but there was an increasing demand of 11,400 for those with formal qualifications in the same sector.

A net increase of about 7800 workers would be needed in horticulture while wood processing would see a 4300 increase.

Horticulture New Zealand senior business manager Sue Pickering said the horticulture industry's growth target was $10 billion by 2020 and that growth needed to be underpinned by a highly skilled workforce - the right number of workers with the right capabilities.

''If our businesses are to thrive and retain our competitive edge, we need people with a wider range of skills who can handle the complexity of growing, managing businesses and working with discerning and rapidly changing markets.

''The fact that in 2012, only 40% of the horticulture workforce has a formal post-school qualification and that by 2025 this will need to be 66% puts in very clear terms the challenge and the opportunity our industry faces.''

Pipfruit New Zealand and other horticulture groups have initiatives to attract more people to the industry and HortNZ is planning an industry-wide summit with key education and training stakeholders to develop a collaborative strategy to recruiting people into horticulture.

The other primary industry bodies also all have education programmes to encourage more people to enter the industries.

Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor Jeremy Baker said much of the increase would come from a big shift across the value chain, from production sectors to support services, such as sales and marketing.

He said Lincoln University was well placed to meet the demand.

''Telford's latest enrolments for this year have been really fantastic and we have almost more students than we can handle on campus.''



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