- Western Australia’s Cook Government has announced a $2.5 million upgrade to scientific facilities in Kununurra to support tropical agriculture.
- The upgrade will benefit the Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture, enhancing research in irrigated agriculture and beef production.
- The revamped laboratories will focus on horticulture, cotton, grain, and fodder production.
- The facility has supported WA’s northern agriculture industry for 77 years and hosts over 20 collaborative research projects.
- The upgrade aims to diversify crop opportunities and lower business risks, contributing to the State’s economy.
In a significant move to bolster tropical agriculture in Western Australia’s north, the Cook Government has unveiled a $2.5 million upgrade to scientific facilities at the Frank Wise Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Kununurra. This investment aims to expand irrigated agriculture and beef production across the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
A Comprehensive Upgrade
The upgrade includes improvements to four laboratories at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Frank Wise Institute. These revamped laboratories will support research across various sectors, including horticulture cropping systems, cotton, grain, and fodder production. Additionally, the upgrade features a fit-for-purpose seed cleaning and processing facility, a humidity-controlled cool room, a general-purpose laboratory, and a drying area for soil and plant material.
A Hub for Research and Collaboration
The Kununurra research facility has been a cornerstone in developing Western Australia’s northern agriculture industry for 77 years. The site currently hosts more than 20 collaborative research projects, focusing on crops such as hemp, plantago, mango, safflower, cassava, and cotton. It is also home to the WA Agricultural Research Collaboration’s Cropping Enabled Cattle project, which explores cattle feed systems in the north.
Agriculture production in the Ord River Irrigation Area plays a crucial role in the State’s economy, contributing $230 million annually from irrigated crops and sandalwood alone.
Government and Community Reactions
Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis stated, “This investment by the Cook Government will help our tropical agriculture industries diversify and explore new crop opportunities while lowering business risks.”
Kimberley MLA Divina D’Anna added, “The Frank Wise Institute’s innovative research will boost local growers’ confidence to pursue new crop and market opportunities. The upgraded facilities will attract more quality research and scientists to the region and create employment avenues for the community.”