Shar­ing skills a win win for all

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA and New Zealand have some of the best agri­cul­tural prac­tices in the world. To use them to im­prove de­vel­op­ing na­tions it is just a mat­ter of putting them out there.

That’s the at­ti­tude of Leith Pem­ber­ton, a Kiwi agribusi­ness con­sul­tant who adapted New Zealand dairy farm­ing for China, just as Mun­dub­bera’s Allen and Sue Jenkin hope to do with Aus­tralian citrus in Laos.

“I ab­so­lutely think more peo­ple should take on these sorts of projects, be­cause if they are done prop­erly every­one wins,” he said.

Mr Pem­ber­ton was the devel­op­ment man­ager for Fon­terra when they set up their first dairy farm in China in 2006.

Called the Hangu Project, it in­volved car­ing for 3000 head of cat­tle on just 35 hectares of land.

Mr Pem­ber­ton came up with a busi­ness model that has now been repli­cated five other times for dairy farms through­out China.

“The best thing is see­ing the small, in­cre­men­tal changes the lo­cals you em­ploy slowly start to make,” he said.

“Ul­ti­mately the op­er­a­tion has to be able to run with­out ex­pats, so you have to em­ploy good per­son­nel and take care in ed­u­cat­ing them.”

He said the projects be­came sus­tain­able when the lo­cal em­ploy­ees saw the real ef­fects of what they were learn­ing.

“If you show some­one how feed­ing the cow bet­ter food means she will pro­duce a bet­ter calf, then they un­der­stand why they are bet­ter off,” he said.

“That’s bet­ter than some­one in an aid pro­gram just say­ing ‘well, here’s a calf’.”

Giv­ing the lo­cals these skills and ed­u­ca­tion not only ben­e­fited them, but meant Fon­terra could grow dairy prod­ucts in their mar­kets, at much lower cost.

Mr Pem­ber­ton is now work­ing with Tranz­fu­tura In­ter­na­tional to set up sheep, veg­etable and cat­tle farms in the Soviet Union.

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