Top End to open up for agriculture

24th July 2020 | Eativity editors

The Northern Territory Government is opening up three huge areas of land for agricultural development. The land releases – which together make up almost 100,000 hectares – include the Keep Plains Agricultural Development, Wildman Agricultural Precinct and the Larrimah Agricultural Precinct.

NT Farmers Association CEO Paul Burke says one of the biggest challenges to agricultural development in the NT is access to land that’s suitable for broadacre cropping activities.

“The release of these highly prospective large-scale agricultural land developments will see the Northern Territory capitalise on the increasing demand for quality Australian produce, ensure sustainable continuity of food supply for national and export markets and enhance the profitability and economic resilience of the region” he says.

Melons are among the largest crops in the Northern Territory.

The Keep Plains Agricultural Development, totalling 67,500 hectares, offers the potential to establish a variety of commercial broadacre crops. Wildman Agricultural Precinct, totalling 26,000 hectares, has the capacity to accommodate multiple agricultural and horticultural activities and high yield crops such as bananas.

Larrimah Agricultural Precinct, totalling 5712 hectares, has a unique seasonal advantage, extending the season for crops such as Territory staples of mangoes, citrus and melons.

Burke says that at a time when Australia’s economy is desperately needing recovery initiatives and investments post COVID-19, agricultural development will bring significant long-term opportunities and sustainable economic benefits to the Northern Territory. As well as regional development and investment outcomes, the flow-on from these releases will create new jobs and training opportunities and help to grow the Territory’s capacity to lead with new innovation, technology, infrastructure and environmental stewardship.

The new land releases have been deemed suitable for broadacre farming.

“Agriculture is Australia’s fastest growing sector and is key to our food security and economic recovery,” Burke says. “The Territory has diverse and well-established agriculture and fisheries sectors, with plant-based industries alone worth over $350 million.

“We have abundant land, suitable water and soil resources and significant opportunity for development and growth as Australia’s closest capital city to Asia’s key trading markets, with well-established supply chains by road, rail, air and sea.”

NT Land Corporation has been working closely with various NT government agencies to ensure these parcels of land are ready for release to the market. In partnership with NT Farmers Association, the corporation will soon be calling for expressions of interest.