7 Jun 2012

Call for rural and urban NZ to reconnect

6:33 am on 7 June 2012

Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Waikato University says urban and rural New Zealand need to reconnect with each other better.

New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with more than 86% of people now living in town.

Professor Rowarth says while most people no longer have a connection with the land, research suggests the majority of urban people know of the importance of the rural sector to the country's economy.

She says the opposite can't be said about rural people, with only a minority giving the same credence to the urban sector.

Professor Rowarth says it's important that both understand each other.

She says urban people are the biggest consumers of food and it's really helpful for agriculturalists to know what they want from their food, what they're prepared to accept in terms of growing conditions and where they think new initiatives can be done.

Professor Rowarth says it's the exchange of ideas and information and bringing in new perspectives that allows the whole industry to move forward.

She says it's also the possibility that some urban children may have exciting, rewarding rural careers.

Professor Rowarth says the National Agricultural Feildays at Mystery Creek, starting next week, is an ideal place for both sides to reconnect.