Government backs new crops in Murray Darling Basin

Producers in the Queensland Murray Darling Basin area can apply for grants of up to $100,000 to help set up new high value horticulture enterprises.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said for some years now the state government had been encouraging and co-funding the establishment of new, high value, profitable and resilient horticulture value chains to boost the economic growth of the Queensland Murray Darling Basin.

“This is part of the Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program (MDBREDP), and centres on further expanding horticulture in the region,” Mr Furner said.

“While the major crops in the area have traditionally been cotton and grain, the soils and climate provide promising conditions for a wider range of horticulture, which in turn leads to more employment opportunities.”

Mr Furner said a new Industry Development Officer, Gianluca Luongo, has been appointed to work closely with local growers and agronomists to further assess the potential of promising new horticulture crops across the region, including tree crops such as Pecans, Jujubes and a range of annual crops with market potential. Mr Luongo is based at Goondiwindi.

“There is $450,000 in competitive grants available for regional agribusinesses to help develop new horticulture industries,” Mr Furner said.

“Applications open for the co-investment funding scheme opened this week and will provide direct financial support to farm and post farm gate businesses keen to expand their current operations into new crops.”

Applications must include details of the project and demonstrate the economic benefits for the region, with consideration for greater funding given to significant regional projects.

Applications close 22 February 2019 and will be independently assessed through the MDBREDP reference panel. To apply visit

The MDBREDP is designed to stimulate economic activity in areas of the Queensland Murray Darling Basin that have been affected by irrigation water buybacks under the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Program funds are administered through an open and accountable, merit based process.

The Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has provided the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with $732,500 in funding to continue this work with in-kind support from the Queensland Government.

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