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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 694: International Symposium on Harnessing the Potential of Horticulture in the Asian-Pacific Region

WHAT FUTURE THE CANE INDUSTRY: IS TRAINING A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE?

Authors:   L.R. Brown, M. Cruickshank, D. Johnston
Abstract:
This paper summarised research into the training needs of cane growers in Queensland and Northern New South Wales for the Sugar Research and Development Corporation (SRDC). The full report supplied comprehensive insights into industry training needs from the perspective of those most directly involved in the production side. As a result of historically low price returns and in some areas, lingering effects of lower than average rainfall, many cane growers are faced with difficult prospects: exiting the industry, seeking to augment incomes by off-farm employment, or diversifying their farming operations. Prior research has shown that farmers undertaking training in other farm business sectors have markedly higher gross operating surpluses when compared with those who did not train. Findings from this research revealed a significant unrecognised demand for competency-based training and a need for adoption strategies to be developed and championed at a whole of industry level. By adopting lessons learnt from other industry re-structures, cane growers can maintain their viability from high-level business management training which is not currently offered. The industry is challenged by a need to engage multiple stakeholders and to develop client designed training programs to enable them to remedy farming-related problems.
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