The McGowan Government has awarded $100,000 to an East Kimberley grower co-operative to pursue cotton processing opportunities in the State’s north.
The Ord River District Co-operative (ORDCO) will receive a Value Add Agribusiness Investment Attraction Fund grant to develop a business model and governance arrangements for a local cotton gin.
The proposal involves the production of local ginned cotton fibre which can be exported directly from Western Australia, instead of harvested cotton being trucked long distances to Queensland for processing.
The funding, which will be matched by ORDCO, will also support the preparation of a business case and investment proposal to build cotton processing facilities in the Ord Valley.
Cotton seed would be retained locally, providing a significant value-add opportunity for the northern pastoral industry as a supplementary, local-origin feed source for cattle.
The expansion of cotton in the Ord has taken another step forward with a Memorandum of Understanding between ORDCO, Kimberley Agricultural Investment and MG Corporation setting out a proposed framework for ownership and management of a cotton ginnery.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Our Government recognises that without local processing of cotton we won’t have a viable cotton industry.
“The proposed facility in the East Kimberley would allow local growers to separate and clean cotton locally, generating jobs and reducing costs associated with transporting cotton thousands of kilometres to the east coast for processing.
“We commend the East Kimberley groups involved in reaching an MOU, which brings together Ord growers and traditional owners in striving towards a local cotton gin.
“This grant will support critical ground work to develop a business proposal for this project, which has the potential to deliver strong economic and jobs growth to the region.”