Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston visited Carnarvon to show support for growers who are facing production losses due to the extended dry spell.
According to the media release by the Government of Western Australia, issued on November 12th, Mr. Baston met with the Gascoyne Water Cooperative, Department of Water and Carnarvon Growers Association in order to assess the effects of the dry conditions on the horticultural production.
“There have been poor flows since the floods in 2010-11 and there is the potential for another dry year, which may result in restricted access to water supplies,” said Mr. Baston.
“We will support growers to plan for water restrictions that may occur between January and March next year and beyond – if there is no river flow.”
The Minister further added that the Department of Agriculture and Food will be hosting two industry workshops in the beginning of December as part of its Dry Season Response for growers in the affected district.
The workshops will address a wide range of key topics including:
-Best practice irrigation methods
-Cash flow and peak debt management
-Possible impact on future seasons and recovery strategies.
“The department will work with vegetables WA’s Vietnamese development officer Truyen Vo to deliver a workshop specifically for Vietnamese growers in Carnarvon,” the Minister said.
Department officers are said to be available for growers seeking additional assistance and advice.
Mr. Baston also revealed that the Department had been working closely with Carnarvon horticulture businesses to in order to improve water-use efficiencies through the State Government’s Royalties for Regions More Dollars per Drop project.
During his visit to Carnarvon, the Minister also reportedly met with table grape producers, the Gascoyne Development Commission and Shire of Carnarvon.
Comprehensive on-farm assessments of 34 fruit and vegetable-growing businesses were also conducted earlier in the year.
These businesses will receive in-depth analysis of their water use efficiency and reports detailing ways to upgrade and improve the productivity and profitability.