- McGowan Government completes $1.17 million in infrastructure upgrades to Gascoyne Research Facility
- Reinvigorated scientific research supporting sustainable growth and expansion of irrigated agriculture in the Gascoyne
Gascoyne growers are set to reap the benefits of a significant investment in the scientific research capacity and capability of the region.
The McGowan Government has pumped more than $1.1 million into upgrading the Gascoyne Research Facility and bolstering the number of local horticulture research scientists at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
A high-tech shade house with advanced irrigation and misting systems has been installed, as well as a greenhouse with a retractable roof for environmental control and cyclone protection, while existing structures have been retrofitted with protective cropping netting.
A digital data network has been installed and connected to soil moisture metres, water flow metres and new weather stations, as a demonstration site to encourage the adoption of data-driven information to aid growers' operations and profitability.
Two additional research staff have been recruited to work alongside growers to address production constraints and pursue research opportunities for vegetable crops and subtropical fruit, backed by recent department appointments of leads for fruit and vegetable production.
The Gascoyne irrigation district plays an important role in providing quality fresh produce to the domestic market including tomatoes, capsicums, sweet corn, mangoes, asparagus, melons, bananas, herbs and chillies, worth up to $100 million per annum.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The Gascoyne Research Facility's new assets, including the new shade house and irrigation system for trials of new tree crops like lychees, longan, citrus and recently planted mangoes, opens up diversification and expansion options to industry.
"The digital data network has the potential to deliver transformational benefits to growers, who can now access valuable, real time information to improve water use efficiencies, reduce costs and increase profitability.
"We are particularly proud to welcome new scientists recruited to the department, including a researcher who is able to converse with the Vietnamese community, adding to the depth and service to the local industry, as well as a specialist fruit researcher.
"The Gascoyne is an important fresh produce contributor to our food security, providing fresh produce to the domestic market with potential to expand into export markets to build industry growth, diversification and resilience.
"This investment in the Gascoyne horticulture industry, together with upgrades to the Frank Wise Institute at Kununurra, illustrates this Government's commitment to reinvigorating agricultural research in the State's north."
Minister's office - 6552 6200