Fruit farmers across South Australia are able to access $14.6 million of Federal Government funding to purchase and install protective netting.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP who has been an integral part of the policy discussions regarding this program said this funding was a major win for fruit farmers in SA.

“Netting delivers clear productivity boosts to growers by protecting crops from extreme weather and pests,” Mr Pasin said.

“Netting increases protection from sunburn, wind and hail—not to mention the birds,” Mr Pasin said.

“Importantly for irrigated crops, netting also delivers dramatic improvements in water efficiency.

“The experience with existing crops and orchards under netting indicated an average reduction in water use by around 30 per cent while simultaneously increasing yields by around the same amount,” Mr Pasin said.

Mr Pasin said despite the clear benefits to protected horticulture, the up-front costs of installing the infrastructure was a major barrier for growers.

“Netting is a substantial investment for growers and the Federal Government is helping to cover these costs with grant of up to $300,000 towards the cost of netting purchase and installation,” Mr Pasin said.

The Federal Government Program will be delivered through two trials covering the Riverland Area and the Adelaide Hills/Greater Adelaide area ($7.3 million each), and be administered by PIRSA.

The scheme will commence from 29 June 2020 and operate until 30 June 2023 or until funds are fully committed.

Eligible growers will be required to at least match the Commonwealth contribution and the grants will be capped at $300,000 (GST exclusive) per farmer. The program will be backdated for eligible producers who have installed netting since December 2019.

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