Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s intentions to introduce opportunity for new crops in the Herbert River district received a major boost with confirmation that Council’s Expression of Interest for establishment of grain drying and storage facilities in Ingham has been successful.
The recently concluded Alternative Cropping Study revealed that crops such as peanuts, soy, mungs and dryland rice could be commercially grown in the Herbert. Constraints however included high moisture content of product on harvest and high transport costs associated in moving harvested products to market.
Mayor Ramon Jayo said that those impediments can be eliminated through provision of drying and silo storage facilities.
“By having these facilities in Ingham, farmers can bring their smaller truck loads to town for processing and storage, rather than travel to the Burdekin or Tablelands, which is not cost effective for a few tonne. The storage facilities will enable aggregation of multiple farm loads sufficient for B double or greater capacity loads and the transport logistics then become quite reasonable and cost effective,”
“We can run with this model as we nurture production of alternate product in the district with a long term plan of establishing our own processing plants in the area once scale and volume increase sufficiently,” Cr Jayo said.
It should be noted that funding has not yet been approved. Under the terms of the Queensland Government’s Rural Economic Development Grant Scheme, proponents are called upon to submit their ideas and proposals to the State Government as an Expression of Interest. The State Government then assesses the proposals and invites successful proponents of the EOI process to lodge an application for the funding by way of invitation.
It is understood that Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s proposal was one of 20 proposals accepted for further consideration from a total of 140 Expressions of Interest.