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Ready to help fit agricultural training to sector

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

11 May 2006 Media Statement

Anderton says government ready to play its part in fitting agricultural training for the sector

Associate Minister of Education and Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton addressed Agriculture ITO AGM today and gave assurances that the government stands ready to play its part in making sure the tertiary framework fits with programmes that actually work for the agricultural sector.

"Training schemes have to be designed to meet those future needs as reasonably as we can and the emphasis needs to be on lifting productivity and the overall economic contribution of the agricultural sector. I'll look at your top priorities for how the government can do that better," Jim Anderton said.

"Examples of successful programmes are Farmsafe and Farmsmart. They have been recognised and accepted by the agriculture community as working well. ACC recognised we needed to improve our farm safety record. Last year ACC helped 4816 people who suffered moderate or severe injuries on farms – 13 per day – while OSH investigated 23 accidental farm deaths. Of last year's tally, more than 1000 people had been so seriously injured on farms that they continued to need ACC help five years or more after their accident. ACC provides ongoing care for as long as is needed – which can mean a whole lifetime But ACC also realised every farm is different and it's not easy to design a national plan. The best solution is to give farm workers the skills to recognise and manage risks themselves.

"Farmsafe has been effective at educating a base of trainees who are widely dispersed and remote. Over 17,000 farmers and farm workers have attended various aspects of the FarmSafe programme - and over 80% successfully achieved all credits offered. It's making the agriculture industry more efficient and safe - with benefits for individuals, employers, communities and the economy.

"Farm Smart is another programme that has been identified as having strong potential to benefit the rural sector. It's a programme aimed at improving IT skills. The farming sector can potentially be transformed by broadband access. But users need the skills to use the technology first. There are issues in fitting both Farm Smart and Farm Safe into the national framework for tertiary education.

"We are working on ways forward on this issue and skills are a priority. I am committed to removing the obstacles for a better performing agricultural sector."

ENDS

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