Oyster project to use new technology for environmental monitoring

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities The Honourable Mark Furner

Queensland’s oyster industry will pioneer high-tech environmental monitoring technology thanks to a Digital Transformation Grant as part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the Queensland Oyster Growers Association would use its $44,416 grant to fast-track a trial of internet-connected monitoring systems.

“These grants were established under Queensland’s Economic Recovery plan to help our agricultural industries make better use of digital technologies and access new opportunities,” Mr Furner said.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic created serious challenges for the agriculture sector, but the Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with industry to find solutions for emerging problems and stand shoulder to shoulder with our farmers.”

The grant to the Queensland Oyster Growers Association will support a $156,472 project that will include:

  • Deployment of a network of sensors to collect environmental data;
  • Integration of sensors into a digital platform using the Smart Oysters application;
  • Deliver training to members on the collected data can be used to support farming methods; and
  • Increase awareness among associated industries.

“The grant will help to put technology and innovation at the forefront of oyster production, leading to better outcomes and higher productivity for growers,” Mr Furner said.

Queensland Oyster Growers Association secretary Henry Hewish said: The sensors our association was able to purchase through the Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant program will enable the Queensland industry to begin collecting data and grow our industry using the most efficient and up to date technology.”

Mr Furner said a total of $5.5 million is being invested over three years through the Digital Transformation in Agribusiness Initiative.

“This funding, as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery strategy, will support agribusinesses to become digitally aware and ready to respond to future disruptions,” he said.

“Digital technology creates new ways of doing things that adds value to the agricultural sector by working more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.

“It offers innovative ways to connect producers to consumers, reduce problems related to remoteness in rural communities, and attract the next generation to jobs in the industry.”

Mr Furner said there was strong interest from industry in the first round of the Agribusiness Digital Solutions Grant Program.

“There were 22 applications received and the diversity of project proposals demonstrates the opportunities digital technologies create for the sector,” he said.

“Under a co-investment model, grants of up to $200,000 were offered for projects that enhance digital skills, drive business efficiencies and create regional jobs across Queensland.

“The approved grants of $1.045 million are for projects that use a range of technologies including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, intelligent apps, big data, automation, artificial intelligence and sensors.”

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