NT: $1.4 million for Indigenous horticulture

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 15th April 2011

The Northern Territory Government will spend $1.4 million extra to support Indigenous horticulture and forestry projects in the Northern Territory.

NT’s Primary Industry Minister Kon Vatskalis said supporting Indigenous horticultural enterprises and working with those interested in sustainable forestry developments had the potential to create more jobs and provide regional development opportunities in the Territory’s remote areas.

“Our horticultural industry in the Territory was valued at $117.7 million last year alone – an 18% increase on the previous year,” Mr Vatskalis.

“There are many communities interested in establishing Indigenous horticulture ventures in the Northern Territory, and the funding I am announcing today will help set the foundations to support their development.”

Mr Vatskalis said that $1.4 million will be spent over five years to foster Indigenous participation in agricultural projects. He said the funds will help to provide sustainable small and large scale horticultural and forestry development.

“The NT Government wants to help Indigenous communities develop commercial horticulture and forestry programs on their land,” Mr Vatskalis said.

“We want to work with communities to identity suitable land for further long-term and sustainable food production.  This work is already underway and it is anticipated that in the future areas of land suitable for horticulture, agriculture and sustainable forestry development will be identified.”

“There is increasing interest from private sector investors. The establishment of partnerships and joint ventures between the private sector and Indigenous landholders to increase horticulture, agriculture and sustainable forestry production would be a positive outcome”.

The recently launched Agribusiness Strategy identified increasing the participation of Indigenous people in agribusiness as a key objective. This funding supports this objective and the Territory 2030 plan which targets the identification of suitable land and water for long-term sustainable food production.