Article by: Hari Yellina
On the strength of a fresh batch of government incentives, Western Australian horticultural growers have been asked to take protective crop netting into consideration. From the most recent round of the Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program, a total of $2.6 million has been granted to WA to help growers buy and construct permanent infrastructure. Additionally, compared to the prior incentives, which were solely offered to apple and pear growers, this round is focusing on a wider variety of crops. The Australian government’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in Western Australia is in charge of running the programme. All WA fruit and vegetable growers erecting permanent netting structures are now eligible for matching payments, with the exception of those growing wine grapes.
Businesses who qualify must contribute up to $200,000 in total, dollar for dollar, to the cost of procuring, installing, and maintaining permanent protective netting and related support structures. According to Rohan Prince, director of DPIRD Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture, interest in the initiative should increase following the success of the prior round. 23 pome fruit firms from Perth to the South West shared in the first round of grants, indicating that the refunds had been well-received, according to Mr. Prince. “The program’s extension will make it possible for horticulture growers across the State to access financing to modernise their businesses and increase their overall production and profitability.”
The program’s requirements remain the same, and candidates can apply for funds for installed nets starting on December 16, 2019, for growers of apples and pears, and on December 14, 2021, for all other growers. According to Mr. Prince, the Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program offers growers a fantastic opportunity to upgrade or transition into protective netting infrastructure. “I urge all producers to look into protective netting and how the rebates might assist them in moving forward,” the author said. On June 30, 2024, or when all available funding has been committed, applications for the Horticulture Netting Infrastructure Program must be submitted.