What recent announcements has the Minister for Primary Industries made regarding irrigation funding in Marlborough?
STUART SMITH to the Minister for Primary Industries: What recent announcements has he made regarding irrigation funding in Marlborough?
Hon NATHAN GUY (Minister for Primary Industries): Recently I announced new funding of $895,000 from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund for the Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme in Marlborough.
Water from this project is likely to be used for viticulture and arable crops, demonstrating that irrigation is about much more than just dairy farming.
Providing a reliable water supply for growers is especially important in Marlborough, given the serious drought the region has suffered over the last 18 months. The scheme will source river water at peak-flow times for storage, and irrigate 2,200 hectares initially.
Stuart Smith: How will the scheme help generate economic growth for the region?
Hon NATHAN GUY: A very good question. A reliable water supply for growers has major potential to boost regional growth, creating jobs and growing our overall exports.
As the local member knows, this project has the potential to boost Marlborough’s economy by around $15 million per year.
We know that viticulture is a big employer and has significantly higher annual turnover than current dryland pasture uses.
Illustrating the potential of this scheme is one grower who said he has just 3 percent of his land currently under irrigation, but with this land accounting for 40 percent of his revenue.