The Kimberley has an abundance of the key natural resources necessary for a strong agriculture and food industry: climate, soil and water. As such, agriculture is already one of the Kimberley’s most progressive, vibrant and promising industries. The industry has large potential for future growth:
- it has excess capacity;
- additional scope for development; and
- has already succeeded in attracting large-scale foreign investment.
Gross Value of Agricultural Production, 2012-13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Kimberley – Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, 2012-13.
The Kimberley currently has 93 pastoral leases, at least 30 are currently beneath peak production. There is an opportunity to improve through better land management, breeding genetics, better fodder and improved livestock performance, using models established in similar Northern Australian operations. The total value of cattle and calve disposal was $161 million in 2012-13.
The Ord River Agricultural Area
The Ord River Irrigation Area has been developed in stages and will amount to 29,000 ha of agricultural land. The stages of the project are:
- Stage 1 in the 1960’s and 1970’s saw construction of the major water supply and drainage infrastructure and 14,000 ha of agricultural land.
- Stage 2 (Ord Irrigation Expansion Project) from 2009-2013 involved State Government funding of $311 million through Royalties for Regions to release 13,400 ha of agricultural land and supporting infrastructure. The proponent, Kimberley Agricultural Investment, has committed to the development of 7,400ha of the Goomig (Weaber Plain) farm area with an option to develop a further 6,000ha of Knox Plain land.
Water for Food
The Water for Food initiative is a four-year $40 million Royalties for Regions funded State Government program aimed at increasing economic growth and regional employment.
The program will use water source discoveries to develop new irrigation areas and increase the size and productivity of existing irrigation districts.
To find out more information on specific projects please see the Department of Water’s Water for Food page.