25 June 2013
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the findings of the 2013 Environmental Scan, which reiterates the need for skills development and growth in the agriculture workforce.
Released annually by AgriFood Skills Australia, this year’s Scan focuses on the theme ‘Mind the Gap: Why Agrifood’s Potential In The Asian Century Is Far From Assured,’ outlining the current gaps in the agriculture industry’s labour and production capacity that may lead to missed opportunities for farmers in addressing the impending demands of the Asian Century.
“The Environmental Scan has confirmed the findings of the NFF-led, industry-developed Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, which outlines the urgent need for increased investment in rural research and development, as well as a strong focus on up-skilling the current agricultural workforce to better respond to the changing industry landscape,” NFF CEO Matt Linnegar said.
The Scan highlights a number of key issues that need to be urgently addressed in order to best prepare the industry for increased demand from Asian markets, expected to increase dramatically in coming years. Among the issues outlined is the need to attract greater numbers of people to the industry to replace an ageing workforce, as well as the need to implement skill sets in business and leadership capabilities, and entrepreneurial, marketing and global supply chain management.
“This is an important time for agriculture, a time of growth and opportunity. It is clear that if we are to achieve any of the ambitious goals outlined in the National Food Plan, released last month, we must act immediately to begin building the necessary skills and capabilities in the industry,” Mr Linnegar said.
“It is time to invest in our workforce, to start building the blocks for the industry to continue to thrive in coming years while under significant demand pressure. The NFF has already been working on this issue, in conjunction with many other stakeholders in agricultural education, training and skills development, including AgriFood Skills Australia, through the National Agribusiness, Education and Skills Taskforce.
“This taskforce is working on an Agriculture Workforce Development Plan, which will outline key strategies and priorities for a skilled agricultural workforce, enabling the agricultural sector to remain competitive through investment in its most important resource: people.
“Agriculture is a unique industry, with many excellent opportunities for long-lasting and rewarding careers,” Mr Linnegar said. “Now it’s time for us to work on attracting people into the sector, and make sure we have the skills to keep Australian farming thriving into the future.”