Horticulture business flourishes with new funding

A North Queensland wholesale nursery is set to reach new markets and create jobs with funding from the Palaszczuk Government.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Flourish Plants would receive $115,000 under the Palaszczuk Government’s Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant scheme to fund the expansion of their business.

“Mareeba-based Flourish Plants produce a range of small crop seedlings under local conditions that are adapted to the climate and readily available for North Queensland growers,” Mr Furner said.

“The funding will be used by Flourish Plants to upgrade its nursery infrastructure, including the installation of a germination chamber, so that ‘on-demand’ production can be fully carried out in-house and independently.

“The project is expected to create four jobs through the construction phase, with another 12 direct and indirect jobs upon completion of business operations.

“This is a great example of how the Palaszczuk Government is creating more jobs in a stronger Queensland economy.”

Flourish Plants director Elaine Duncan said the grant funding would help the business branch out into other areas of horticulture production, increase business and create a diverse range of products for customers.

“Having a germination chamber at Flourish Plants will allow us to grow commercial quality seedlings from start to finish, that way customers are getting locally grown products that are acclimatised to the North Queensland environment,” Ms Duncan said.

The $115,000 grant funding will also help Flourish Plants establish two new shade houses to expand their blueberry production.

“In 2018, we successfully fulfilled a trial producing blueberry plants for a national corporation. The plants were adjusted to the local climate, faster growing and higher yielding due to vegetative bud growth induced through our highly effective growing systems,” Ms Duncan said.

“We’ve now been offered a contract to produce blueberry plants but we couldn’t house that many plants in our nursery. It’s been great to receive the funding so we can expand and take on larger contracts.”

The Rural Economic Development Grant program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The $10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.

A total of 15 businesses have received $3.3 million under the first-round of funding for the RED Grant program. Overall these 15 projects are expected to create over 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.

Funding for Round 2 of the RED Grants will be announced later this year.

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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