TasTAFE will help young Japanese farmers gain practical experience and training in Tasmanian farming practices as part of a new agreement between the State Government, TasTAFE and Japanese Agriculture (JA) Biei signed in Japan recently.
On 28 February Minister for Education and Training, Jeremy Rockliff, TasTAFE Deputy CEO, Lori Hocking, and JA Biei signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Tokyo that will see TasTAFE’s Freer Farm site in Burnie become a training base for JA Biei’s young farmers during the Japanese winter.
JA Biei is a leading entrepreneurial cooperative representing the agricultural sector in Biei, a town with a population of 12,000 people. JA Biei has 741 member farmers, and is also a member of the national Japan Agriculture Cooperative.
The MOU will begin with the delivery of a pilot program this year to a small group of between five and 10 Japanese farmers, which will focus on TasTAFE training in the areas of English Language, Agriculture and Horticulture. It will include occupational health and safety and chemical training, farm visits, study at Freer Farm and rotational work placement on farms in the North-West.
Tasmania is the perfect training base for the farmers as it has similar environmental conditions to Biei. Tasmania’s reputation as a clean, green and high quality source of food is also important to JA Biei.
It is hoped that the MOU is the initial step towards a long-term agricultural collaboration between JA Biei and Tasmania that will bring benefits to both Tasmania and Biei.
The partnership will have advantages for both Tasmania and Japan with participants gaining and sharing knowledge of Japanese quality control, planning and export opportunities.
Through this partnership there are also potential opportunities for Tasmania to learn more about Japanese crops such as daikon, lilybulbs, honeyberries and cold- climate melons.
It is also hoped that exchange programs for young farmers between Tasmania and Japan can be developed.
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