Dinner plans in Gingin, Dongara

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Mia Davies.
Camera IconMia Davies. Credit: The West Australian

The State Government is targeting land between Gingin and Dongara in its latest attempt to grow food production from irrigation precincts.

The Irwin area near Dongara and the Dinner Hill area north of Dandaragan are in its sights after initial surveys showed the potential to tap into groundwater reserves.

Testing showed high bore yields in Irwin, which is serviced by the Yarragadee aquifer and surrounded by abandoned gas wells. Dinner Hill produced similar results and has a number of horticulture developments nearby, including olive farms.

Water Minister Mia Davies said the Government was working to prove up one or two 2000ha to 3000ha irrigated horticulture zones, part of its $4.7 million Water for Food Midlands project.

“The two prospective localities have been selected with input from community and industry bodies and will now undergo further water, infrastructure, soil and crop analysis to determine if they are suited to intensive irrigated horticulture,” she said.

Mrs Davies said the departments of Water and Agriculture and Food would collaborate on the project.

The flow of technical information to existing growers and prospective investors is expected to start in May.

The Government believes up to 10 million hectares is suitable for irrigated agriculture. Only 25,000ha of WA is in production.

The Shire of Dandaragan is already home to Yathroo, one of the best farms in Australia based on its water resources and production capacity.

In the shires of Coorow and Carnamah to the north-east, horticulture giant Nick Tana is breathing new life into failed irrigated almond orchards covering 1700ha.

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