26 September 2018 at 9:00 am

Japanese agriculture students visit Southland

Twenty Japanese agricultural students visited Southland in August to gain insights into the local farming industry and to learn about how female workers take leadership roles in the primary sector.

The students at the debrief session held in late August when they came back.

The students, known as Chikujyo (“ari-girls” in Japanese)came from agricultural high schools across Japan to spend 12 days in Southland at Southland Girls' High School, which offered ESOL classes and technical training in farming. Alongside this, the students visited Fonterra Edendale, Blue River Dairy, Southern Dairy Hub research farm and other dairy farms with women in leadership roles. The Southern Institute of Technology also assisted with some activities.

Misa Kitaoka, ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager – Japan said the programme generated significant media coverage in Japan and is a great example of industry and institutions collaborating to deliver a programme that highlights New Zealand’s unique education offerings and expertise. 

“Students were impressed by the efficiency and productivity of agriculture practices in New Zealand, and the support for women in farming. They left feeling that farming in New Zealand allows a good work life balance,” said Misa.

“I am so inspired by the girls who are using what they learned in New Zealand to promote a new image of working in agriculture that’s more accessible for new entrants, especially females.”  

The programme was developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ New Entrant’s and Women’s Division, in consultation with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Primary Industries and ENZ. It was administered by the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council and was funded by the Japan Racing Association.

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