CEO Paul Burke asks “Boundless Possible – Where are the Workers?” How many millions of dollars of produce need to be left on the trees or rotting on the ground before governments realise we have an issue?
In other news, we congratulate Mr Ken Rayner on being awarded an OAM for his services to the mango industry; we give you information on the classification of long term casuals; strongly encourage all agri-business to have a COVID19 management plan in place and a general wrap up of what we are doing in the industry.
In this edition we showcase the Central Australian Food Futures Roadshow held in November.
The event kicked off in Alice Springs with over 65 people in attendance. The welcome function was an enjoyable evening held at Azri Research Station and our hosts, Department of Primary Industries & Resources put on an amazing meal and venue. The topics for the welcome event were hemp and dates. Keynote speaker John Hall from Agrifibre addressed guests on the hemp industry, its opportunities and value to central Australia and future farming operations. John can see terrific opportunity for the hemp industry and the opportunity is very real. There was significant interest in hemp from the range of producers in the room…
The only thing that tastes sweeter than a Territory Mango is knowing that every bite supports the people and the earth that brought it to you – today and far in to the future (Paul Burke, NT Farmers CEO)
What else is in this edition:
Update from Minister for Primary Industries and Resources
Central Australia Food Futures Roadshow next month
In this edition we highlight water: the Essential Ingredient to Life, Success and Prosperity
“From the desert to the coastline the single biggest constraint to the growth of our plant industries is the availability of reliable water, consequently the most important investment we can make in the future of Territory farming is good water planning and management.” (Kate Peake, NT Farmers Director & Advocate for Industry Water Rights)
We also welcome our new CEO Paul Burke and thank previous CEO, Greg Owens for his hard work and dedication to the Association. We are very glad to announce that Greg will be staying on with NT Farmers in the role of Industry Development Manager.
The NT Farmers Mango Business Industry Development project has been funded by the NT Department of Primary Industries & Resources until 30 June 2020.
The project has a focus with the NT mango industry, however, has extended out to other horticultural crops that may have further domestic and export market opportunities.
Assisting industry stakeholders and commercial operations in the development of cold chain infrastructure, export development infrastructure, freight, quarantine/phytosanitary requirements, providing end to end solutions and operational activities.
Analyse export market development on existing Northern Territory produce for current Free Trade Agreement countries and other potential trading partners and countries. Assessment of current state of play for horticultural crops that are already exporting out of southern markets, identify gaps, opportunities and assist in facilitating development.
Assisting mango and other horticultural producers with increasing their knowledge in quality and food safety assurance systems through the provision of training and knowledge sharing, providing up to date information on any supply chain changes and research and development extension activities.
Supporting producers to understand their supply and value chain capabilities which will enhance their commercial outcomes and sustainability of all businesses within the supply chain.
The mango industry in the Northern Territory makes up nearly 50% of all of Australia’s mango production and plays a pivotal role in the economic development of horticultural production in the NT and continues to go from strength to strength building capacity across the whole supply chain.
The NT Farmers Plant Industry Development project has been funded by the NT Department of Primary Industries & Resources until 30 June 2020.
The project has a focus with the development of new cropping opportunities, new area developments and new business development as well as focussing on the Research, Development and Extension opportunities.
The project involves three main components:
1. Working with existing farmers to improve and develop the existing cropping opportunities while introducing new cropping options that lead to a more robust, sustainable and profitable farming system. This involves working closely with existing farmers and being a conduit to facilitate required extensions services that enables a more supportive environment for the Northern Territory farmers to access new markets, diversify and explore alternative crops and products and to improve farming systems, logistics, farm biosecurity and labour practices.
A major part of the project is to work with the Northern Territory Government to progress the development and delivery of the Katherine Agribusiness and Logistics Hub that will enhance the opportunities for expansion of existing industries and the development of new cropping options and industries
2. Establish new crop opportunities by investigating new crops, technologies and farming systems to increase farm productivity. Utilising the climatic and seasonal advantages that the Northern Territory, select new crops that offer opportunities to enhance the development of a profitable farming system.
Working closely with existing farmers, demonstrate production viability alongside identifying and accessing new markets for the crops;
3. Identify new areas of opportunity in the Northern Territory that are not currently cropping and the expansion of existing crops to new areas. In development of new cropping areas there is a need to facilitate the investigation of the economic viability of farming options through liaison with land holders, potential growers and expert stakeholders.
A significant component in the development of new areas will be to explore and assist in implementing diversification options to improve resilience of businesses and industry in conjunction with the diversification on pastoral lands and the Indigenous estate.
Forestry is a growing commodity in the NT. With African mahogany and Sandalwood plantations in the Douglas Daly region, Acacia plantations on Melville Island and native forest management in East Arnhem, these projects are currently being grown for many different products for domestic and international markets:
Essential oils and pharmaceuticals
The forest industry is a key employer in these regions. These forestry projects have an estimated value of over $500m
Tropical Exotic Fruits include produce such as rambutan, durian, custard apple, paw paw, pomelo and many other fruits more common in Asian countries. These crops are often sent to the large interstate markets catering to Asian consumers but are also often found at our local markets. Estimated value of this commodity group is around $9million.
NT Farmers continue to support our field crop and fodder growers. Growers are increasing their yield significantly in these areas and we are looking forward to continued growth in this sector. New field crops are being researched and developed especially in the more regional NT areas. We are seeing a greater demand for these crops as we have available land and are not likely to suffer drought conditions as effecting other parts of Australia.
NT Farmers Association represents the grape industry. The majority of the fruit is grown in Central Australia. The industry produces approximately $8.7million of fruit per year which equates to 1950 tonnes.
NT Farmers Association has a significant amount of melon growers in the NT. The most common melons include water melon, rock melon and honey due melon.
The NT melon industry produce approximately $45million of product per year. The melons are grown over 1100ha in total and equate to 46,000 tonne of fruit
The NT Farmers Workforce Planning Coordinator project has been funded by the NT Department of Primary Industries & Resources until 30 June 2020.
The project is quite broad and includes supporting agribusiness management;
with the necessary tools and information to implement employment practices that comply with workplace relations laws and industry standards
coordinating training for upskilling of both management and staff
by identifying employers needs & workforce gaps
by collating labour force statistics and information from in-field operations to influence policy and regulatory improvements e.g. visa reform.
by representing NT Farmers nationally, contributing high quality advice
to source international labour
Other tasks include improving career pathways in the NT agriculture industry, undertaking activities that attract Territorians to consider and embark on a career in horticulture or agriculture and promoting the industry to potential employees.
NT Farmers Association (NTFA) continue to build on industry relationships through engagement-focused extension activities with vegetable growers, assisted by stakeholder involvement. Earlier vegetable project contributions were essential in achieving best management practices in the Northern Territory vegetable industry.
The aim of this project is to strengthen growers’ business and agronomic models through addressing best- practice gaps and capacity requirements identified through implementation research.
A major industry priority is to improve pest and disease management in tropical vegetable crops by encouraging the establishment of IPM practices and strategies for profitable production in the NT.
Best practice on-farm biosecurity management continues across all vegetables and row crops, developed and implemented through the CGMMV incursion. This was made possible by collaboration with the NT Department of Primary Industries and Resources, NT Biosecurity staff and Molecular Biology CGMMV R&D team.
To deliver regional capacity building services to the NT vegetable industry
To increase knowledge of current R & D and facilitate adoption of R & D
Increase the reach of vegetable R & D programs through engaging stakeholders in networks at a regional level
To provide linkages to the national industry services and national vegetable training initiatives
The Northern Territory is a growing region for vegetable production in Australia where significant production increases are due to predominately Vietnamese and Cambodian growers. The Territory relies on its market access to southern states during the dry season generally between May to October while the rest of southern Australia is in winter.
These growers produce predominately Asian leafy green, melons, cucurbits such as cucumbers, squash, zucchini and pumpkins, snake bean, okra, capsicums, chillies, eggplants, spring onions, tomatoes and herbs. The industry is estimated to be worth around $50 million dollars to the NT economy with a total of 11,600 tonnes produced in 2017.
The need to demonstrate best practice crop and business management is ongoing to ensure sustainable industry growth into the future. Providing support to growers allows for adoption of practice change. Through extension and R & D delivery-based information, growers can continue developing and expanding the industry in the NT. Providing grower practice change alternatives such as softer chemical use options, to spray programs combined with integrated pest management for more profitable outcomes around pest and disease management. The project also offers training for growers around biosecurity and food safety to meet certification requirements for food production.
NT Farmers is contracted by Agsafe limited to provide support services for the drumMUSTER program in the Northern Territory and east Kimberly region of WA. Any agricultural or veterinary chemical container that displays the drumMUSTER logo is eligible for free collection and the plastic and metal drums are recycled for re manufacture into useful products.
By using drumMUSTER, farmers and growers have the means to keep their properties clear of waste and the service provides a recycling pathway for empty chemical drums.
Before delivering eligible containers to the nearest collection site, ensure they are:
empty, with lids removed
triple-rinsed until free of any visible chemical residue
clean and dry, punctured if they are metal.
Call ahead to make a delivery:
Humpty Doo Transfer Station Spencely Street, Humpty Doo (08) 8983 0652
NT Recycling Depot 19 Pruen Road, Berrimah (08) 8947 2721
Katherine Transfer Station Novis Quarry Road, Katherine (08) 8971 2014
Douglas Daly Research Facility Jungwa Road, Douglas Daly (08) 8978 2442
Alice Springs Town Council Commanage Rd, Alice Springs (08) 89504341
Central Desert Regional Council Spencer Rd, Ti Tree (08) 89669911
drumMUSTER is funded by levies collected by AgStewardship Australia, which was established to develop stewardship programs for Australia’s agriculture sector. AgStewardship contracts Agsafe Ltd to deliver the drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs on its behalf.
Farmers often use chemicals for pest management, one-off pest events or they may switch crops, resulting in leftover chemicals no longer needed. ChemClear is an agvet chemical waste management program that helps chemical users to keep their properties free of those unwanted products.
To maintain sound land management practices, farmers are encouraged to keep their land, waterways and landfill sites free of chemicals, by using ChemClear to safely dispose of products.
Farmers register their obsolete chemicals with ChemClear online or by phoning 1800 008 182, then deliver those products to a scheduled collection point advised by ChemClear.
ChemClear collections usually take place once every two years, so it’s important for chemical users to do a regular inventory of their chemical shed and registration of unwanted products for safe collection and disposal.