NSW Farmers is calling for stimulus measures to support agriculture and regional communities through and beyond the COVID-19 restrictions.
The proposed package includes funding for weed and pests control, fencing improvements, enhancement of on-farm energy infrastructure, improved accommodation options for casual labour and a job-rich investment in conservation and land management.
NSW Farmers President James Jackson said the NSW Government has committed to working with business in charting a path through these uncertain times.
“Government has stepped up with support packages provided to date, but we think there are some real opportunities right now to provide specific stimulus measures to support agriculture, local food and fibre production and regional economic activity,” Mr Jackson said.
“We have identified a range of options that reduce or remove supply chain issues in fresh food and fibre production, provide a boost to regional economies and provide opportunities for short term and longer term employment opportunities.”
The stimulus proposal has been provided to Premier Berejiklian and NSW Farmers is committed to working with the recently established Department of Regional NSW and Resilience NSW to drive the delivery of stimulus programs for agriculture and regional NSW.
“Opportunities exist for the establishment of small scale processing plants close to growers to extend product freshness and shelf-life and support market expansion.,” Mr Jackson said.
“For example, oyster farmers have seen a large drop in sales with COVID-19 restrictions impacting heavily on tourism and hospitality. That industry is now looking at freezing and bottling options to extend shelf life. There is also value adding opportunities for the horticulture and dairy sectors.”