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Plans for new lines of passionfruit in NT

R&D: Minister Ken Vowles will work with NT Farmers this year to develop new lines of passionfruit.
R&D: Minister Ken Vowles will work with NT Farmers this year to develop new lines of passionfruit. Jamie Brown

AFTER the Christmas break it's great to be back working towards improving the Territory for Territorians.

This year will again see recreational fishing high on my agenda as the Territory Labor Government continues to implement its $50million investment in the sector.

The latest project is the instalment of a new containment net at Manton Dam.

The old one was reaching the end of its life, having been installed more than 20 years ago, and this new one will contain the 110,000 barra fingerlings I helped release into the dam last year.

It is a fantastic year-round recreational fishing spot, so this is a worthy project supported by the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee.

We are also nearing completion of the scoping study into artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices.

Visit www.dpir.nt.gov.au to plot your suggested locations on a map - we want to hear what Territory fishos think.

Your input will be combined with scientific data and cost and biological factors to determine the best locations for the reefs and FADs.

The survey closes on February 19.

This week it was good to catch up with NT Farmers at their AGM and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them this year.

Last year the NT Government awarded NT Farmers $1.55million over three years to fund three new roles.

They have filled one (the workplace planning co-ordinator), with interviews for a plant industry development officer in Katherine and mango business industry development officer to begin this month.

Late last year NT Farmers CEO Greg Owens helped me launch a request for proposal for several promising new lines of passionfruit.

These have been developed by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources to take advantage of Top End growing conditions and to fruit in October and November, when there is a gap in the Australian market.

Agribusiness is a key economic driver for the Territory and it's great to see departmental research bring opportunities at the farm gate.

Topics:  farming fishing horticulture ken vowles column northern territory opinion passionfruit research and development