The northern parts of Australia could be on their way to becoming Asia’s salad bowl through more use of protected cropping systems. A new project backed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia (CRCNA) will investigate the best way to support growers wanting to set up protected cropping systems in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Around $443,000 will be invested in the project which will run for two years.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said protected cropping systems were a fast-growing part of the food production sector and their broader use in northern Australia offered huge benefits to growers.
“Large scale undercover cropping systems means growers can beat the heat, beat the insects and beat extreme weather. Setting them up can be expensive, but the benefits of being able to reliably supply high quality produce into Asia’s large consumer markets is a big incentive to take them up,” Minister Canavan said. “The CRCNA funding will be used to map out the best way to set up commercial-scale protected cropping systems in northern areas. A broader take-up of protected cropping in the north would mean increased reliability in supplying a greater range of product for export and more jobs in local communities.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project was another in a strong pipeline of agricultural productivity projects already backed by the CRCNA.
“The CRC Program continues to go from strength to strength and it proves the power of collaboration, in bringing together industry and researchers to achieve excellent outcomes,” Minister Andrews said.