The agriculture sector is one that is talked about and analysed from every angle by people all around the world every single day. Successful agriculture is essential to survival as people have to eat.
As the world population is constantly increasing, so is the need to produce more food/fibre. Yet every day the agriculture sector is struck with the issue that we cannot gain enough attraction for passionate people to enter the sector; consequently nationally and internationally there is a cry for help from agricultural businesses trying to find and retain staff.
Agriculture in New Zealand is constantly in the limelight for questions being raised around impacts on the environment, on animal health and wellbeing. Due to this it is no wonder there is a struggle to attract good young people to the industry.
There is also little government support to the industry, particularly to ensure the younger generations understand what agriculture is really about, let alone a clear pathway into the sector as agriculture is not a big part of the education curriculum.
Through looking into past literature, statistics, and interviews we can clearly identify the current situation of agriculture and the direction it is heading in the future.
Key recommendations as a result of this research are;
- Continue to share positive agricultural stories, by various methods such as media.
- Target educating youth about agriculture as early as primary school through introducing an independent teaching platform as part of the primary school curriculum.
- Teach children where their food comes from using backwards engineering; from plate to farm. This would need to be backed by company’s such as Talent Central and farming industry bodies to provide the information.
- Build a clear pathway to support people with agricultural passion right from young children, through primary school, secondary school and beyond their tertiary education. We would do this by recognising those children with an agricultural interest and nurturing this. This would be implemented through introduced education programs and offering support to teachers, career advisors and parents. This could be done but those bodies collectively involved in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
- Utilise technology and use it as a platform to educate the urban population. Selectively place interactive technology where people can read, listen and learn about agriculture in New Zealand.
Acknowledging there are already movements in place to change the common negative perspectives towards agriculture, creating a solution is a difficult task. Targeting children earlier is currently an area which will require further work. By helping children understand where their food comes from and establishing a ‘Just Cause’ around feeding the world, children are more likely grow up with a passionate agricultural mind set.