The State Government today announced funding of $2million over four years to develop the enormous agricultural potential of Western Australia’s pastoral region.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the State Government would work directly with traditional landholders and local pastoralists and growers in the region to explore and develop New Opportunities for Tropical and Pastoral Agriculture (NOTPA).
Mr Chance said the NOTPA initiative would build on existing feasibility studies for large-scale irrigated agriculture in the north of the State.
“The proposal to establish NOTPA is based on the success of a similar project in Manjimup, which explored new crops and opportunities in the region following the closure of the Simplot potato processing plant,” he said.
“NOTPA will identify agricultural opportunities and, with local participation, develop a strategy to attract investment to commercialise opportunities.”
The Minister said the new initiative would engage traditional owners and Aboriginal communities in exploring a diverse range of development options and scenarios.
“Social and cultural consultation will be an important part of this work and will firstly involve identifying the concerns of the traditional owners and environmental groups, in relation to land and water use,” he said.
“The environmental impacts will also be given full consideration and land areas at risk of degradation and of significance for biodiversity conservation will be identified as part of the project.
“The Gallop Government is committed to protecting and enhancing WA’s unique environment.”
Mr Chance said the project would assess the scope of horticultural, irrigated grain, fibre, pasture, fodder cropping, inland aquaculture and intensive animal production systems and rotations that would be technically suitable in the State’s north.
Part of the work would also be to examine the logistics of input supply, produce assembly, processing, transport and marketing and the region’s competitive advantages and disadvantages.
One of the first initiatives would be to conduct a regional NOTPA forum to build a range of scenarios for future development and help formulate implementation strategy.
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