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Urban participation urged in land-based industries

10 April 2008

NEWS FROM LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
- for immediate use

Greater urban participation and interest urged in exploiting full potential of NZ land-based industries

An appeal for greater urban participation and interest in the scientific and commercial drive to extract further sophistication and opportunity from New Zealand’s land-based industries was made by Lincoln University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Roger Field at this year’s Graduation Ceremony in Christchurch Town Hall.

“Currently Lincoln University is producing insufficient graduates to meet the employment demand of many of the key industries driving the New Zealand economy,” he said.

“In particular there is a challenge to attract sufficient students into agriculture, agribusiness and related areas.

“New Zealand’s future prosperity is dependent on a stronger scientific and commercial input into extracting further sophistication and opportunity from the land-based industries but rural communities cannot achieve this alone.

“A greater level of participation and interest by those from urban backgrounds is required.

“This is necessary if New Zealand is to exploit its full potential as an exporter of sophisticated food, beverage and fibre products.”

Professor Field said that the Government’s recent Fast Forward initiative (which provides a $700 million funding boost for research, development ands innovation in the food and agriculture sector) was “positive” in promoting greater investment in these areas, but it required explicit recognition that education was the “essential precursor” to any desired expansion in these sectors.

“Lincoln University is the major producer of graduates in agriculture in New Zealand and accepts its responsibility to encourage further and wider participation to support growth in the land-based industries.”

Professor Field pointed out to those graduating that Lincoln University had the highest level of employment placement of all New Zealand universities.

He added, “the evidence clearly shows that all those who graduate with a university qualification have improved career prospects and can expect to have significantly higher remuneration.”

At the ceremony a total of 725 degrees, diplomas and certificates were presented.

ENDS

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