• 20,060
    Total Filled jobs in Agricultural and Fishing Support Services for September quarter 2021
  • 4,370
    Total Filled jobs in Agricultural Product Wholesaling for September quarter 2021
  • 63,460
    Individuals worked in Support Services across 2020
  • $1.5 bn
    Contribution to GDP by Landscaping Services, Livestock and Other Agricultural Supplies Wholesaling industries as at 2022


Support Services is an overarching name for a collection of sub-industries that together support the outputs of the food and fibre production sector. This grouping is not an industry in its own right, and the issues for each area are individual. They are necessarily diverse and the binding feature is that they are about services provided that are required for the sector to operate. Support Services includes a wide variety of jobs from pest control to artificial insemination, and sheep dipping. These are roles which are crucial to the success of the wider food and fibre sector, with some jobs such as sheep dipping going back to 1280AD in Britain, when tar was rubbed into the fleeces of the sheep as a remedy for scab.

Support Services is grouped into four sub-industries:  

  • Hunting and Trapping
  • Landscaping Construction Services
  • Other Agricultural Product Wholesaling
  • Other Agriculture and Fishing Support Services

These sub-industries can overlap with multiple parts of the food and fibre sector, with the most common industries being Nursery, Turf and Gardening; Arable; Sheep, Beef and Deer; Fruit; and Vegetables. For example, fencing is mainly a support service for land-based industries such as Nursery, Turf and Gardening; Arable; and Sheep, Beef and Deer industries but is not relevant to industries such as Seafood and Veterinary Nursing, whereas artificial insemination is a support service in livestock production such as Sheep, Beef and Deer, but is not relevant to Nursery, Turf and Gardening or Arable. These crossovers create some complexities that are unique to the Support Services industry. 

Together these sub-industries represent the largest grouping of employees across the food and fibre sector. In 2020 we counted over 63,400 people in the Support Services workforce, with 19% of the workforce being on work or work holiday visas. Many of these roles are very specific or seasonal. The seasonal nature of several sub-industries means that some areas have a transitory workforce, and in certain cases this also makes it difficult to attract and retain staff. There is an opportunity within these challenges to review and build qualifications, standards and credentials that are flexible depending on the specific needs of the workforce that, where applicable, are transferrable across the sub-industries and the wider food and fibre sector.

2024 Investment Advice

Muka Tangata provides advice to TEC on investment in vocational education to influence funding decisions that considers industry needs, to help match skills and workforce demands with supply.

Learn more


We highlight the current key priorities and opportunities for each industry, and links back to the supporting evidence base to show why they have been selected as a priority. These opportunities will be updated on an ongoing basis as our understanding of the industry evolves and deepens.

This is our plan to address the opportunities that arose from our engagement, research and analysis. It includes real actions that we are committed to delivering – these are both industry specific and cross-cutting actions across all industries in the food and fibre sector where common themes emerged.

It includes broader areas or dependencies where external parties will need to provide input into solutions with Muka Tangata support; for example, advocacy, engagement, collaboration, and provision of specific expertise or data. We will work in collaboration with those who will need to take the lead in this area. This section will test potential solutions that we’re working on and seek feedback and input into them.