12/12/2014 - 14:29

Farmers selected for Ord River land

12/12/2014 - 14:29

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Two farming groups have secured new parcels of irrigated land in the Ord Valley, part of the state government’s Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project.

Part of the Ord-Dunham irrigation area.

Two farming groups have secured new parcels of irrigated land in the Ord Valley, part of the state government’s Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project.

Lands Minister Terry Redman said Gray Australia, which trades as Ceres Farm, was successful in bidding for a 360-hectare plot of land, while mango farmer JH & CS Engelke was the government’s preferred partner for a 70ha parcel in close proximity.

Ceres Farm produces watermelons, pumpkins, chia, chickpeas, sorghum and maize.

Mr Redman said the land awarded was adjacent to Ceres Farm’s existing operations.

“The release of land in the Packsaddle area is an excellent opportunity for the local private sector to establish, or grow, existing enterprises,” Mr Redman said.

“Both proponents are local, family-owned and operated farming enterprises that intend to grow a range of horticultural crops.”

The state and federal governments have invested $515 million in the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project, aiming to increase the Ord irrigation are to about 29,000ha.

Future land releases will be announced in coming months.

Today’s land releases follow the government signing an agreement with Chinese group Shanghai Zhongfu to develop 7,400ha of Ord River land, in a deal originally announced two years ago.

Shanghai Zhongfu will invest around $700 million establishing a sugar plantation in the area, through its subsidiary Kimberley Agricultural Investment.

KAI also has a three year option to develop a further 6,000ha of land, but it is required to secure federal environmental approvals and deliver an Aboriginal development package.

 

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