Whanganui & Partners, the district’s economic development agency, and the Whanganui Rural Community Board are undertaking a survey to better understand the needs of the local agribusiness sector.
Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead for Agribusiness,Colleen Sheldon, says the main purpose of the survey is to measure the value of the sector and identify barriers to growth.
“We have anecdotal data of Whanganui’s strengths and weaknesses in agriculture and hearing directly from people at the grassroots will build a local picture for us to work from,” she says.
The survey canvasses rural landowners about topics such as internet and mobile coverage, water supply, land use opportunities, and workforce needs.
“It’s important for us to know how we can help and support, whether this be by advocating for better mobile coverage,facilitating rural water collectives, or understanding workforce needs,” Sheldon said.
“Not all rural areas have the same needs, and by collecting rich data we can identify enabling infrastructure needs, value-add opportunities and changing trends over time.”
Sheldon wants the district’s primary industries, which include farmers, growers, orchardists and cottage industries,to be widely recognised as a contributing factor for positive economic and social wellbeing in our communities and district.
“The primary industries were hailed for their role as an essential service during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the survey will help us capture the ongoing contribution that agribusiness makes to our district,” Sheldon said.
Whanganui Rural Community Board deputy chair David Wells is confident landowners will want their ongoing business investment and value understood in the wider context of community wellbeing.
“This is the first of its kind for Whanganui and we thank Whanganui & Partners for their work in recognising our farmers and growers, and look forward to seeing the results of this survey.
The agribusiness survey was sent to property owners with land of 10ha or more in the Whanganui District. If you have any questions or have not received your survey, please contact Colleen Sheldon at 06 349 3139. The survey can also be completed online.
The Annual Agribusiness Survey closes on Wednesday, 22 July 2020.
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