The Palaszczuk Government is investing $100,000 to boost food production in the Central Highlands.

“The Central Highlands’ fertile soils make it one of Australia’s most important production areas,” said Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development Bill Byrne.

“The 60,000 square kilometres encompassing places like Arcadia Valley, Bauhinia, Blackwater, Bluff, Capella, Comet, Dingo, Duaringa, Emerald, Rolleston, the Sapphire Gemfields, Springsure and Tieri is a notable food bowl.

“It’s a subtropical area with assured water supplies from Fairbairn Dam and the Nogoa-Mackenzie Irrigation Scheme and that makes it an ideal location for a variety of crops.

CHDC Chairman Kerry Hayes, General Manager Sandra Hobbs and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Regional Director (Central) Paul Walmsley view melons destined for Melbourne, with harvest underway at Mark and Trish Daunt’s melon enterprise, Emerald.

“Produce includes citrus fruits, chickpeas, cereals, cotton, beef, mungbeans and table grapes and the Palaszczuk Government recognizes the economic contribution made by Highlands producers and wants to help them to expand production,” the Minister said.

“With that in mind we are working with the Central Highlands Development Corporation on a number of initiatives to enhance the region’s reputation as a powerhouse of agribusiness.”

The Minister said the initiatives would encourage on-farm innovation and provide enhanced production data across the supply chain.

The collaboration will deliver:

  • An Agribusiness Capability Statement mapping existing supply chains, production calendars and supporting regular collection of commodity production data with industry partners to improve production estimates and assist with forecasting seasonal input and logistic requirements.
  • A major Ag-Tech and Innovation Agribusiness event, with a focus on technologies that improve farm and agribusiness profitability. This event will be held on November 8, 2017.
  • A short documentary feature film following the supply chain of Central Highlands commodities and services and showcasing the region’s natural assets, innovative people and employment opportunities.

Kerry Hayes, chairperson of CHDC, praised the collaboration as a milestone for agribusiness.

“CHDC is very excited about the partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,” he said.

“Our collaboration comes at a really significant time in the Central Highlands in terms of the region’s expansion with the Inland Port, and ramping up of our focus on agribusiness through CHDC’s new initiative Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness.”

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