Budget Paper No.6 1997/98 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled Paper 3223
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT; Tabled Papers
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produce (for example, table grapes, mangoes, dates, melons, asparagus, cucurbit crops and Asian vegetables) and other tropical exotic fruits and vegetables for the southern and overseas markets. In recognition of the demand from these diversified markets, areas planted to fruit trees is steadily increasing. Prospects for increased mango, banana, table grapes, melons, other cucurbit crops, citrus and cut flower production are particularly promising. Increasing numbers of mango trees have been planted, particularly in the Top End region, which will increase future production from the Territory. The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF), in conjunction with the Northern Territory Horticultural Association (NTHA), continue to examine alternative markets including mango exports to overseas markets and mango downstream processing to lessen the pressure on the limited fresh fruit domestic markets. The DPIF is also working with the NTHA to improve the general quality of Territory mangoes by implementing a comprehensive long term mango strategic plan to incorporate programs such as a quality assurance scheme, market promotion and better communications between growers, packers and wholesale agents in southern markets. A trade mark for Territory mangoes called Northern A-peel was launched last year as a part of the quality assurance scheme. During 1996, a locally owned road transport company, Territory Produce Freight Management, started to provide refrigerated road services for vegetable producers as a cheaper alternative to air freight. As a result, most heavy/bulky horticultural products are now shipped to southern markets by road. This not only means considerable savings on freight costs for horticultural producers but it also frees up valuable air-cargo freight space for other Territory perishable products. During 1996, further banana plantings occurred at Lambells Lagoon by two large banana companies (Chiquita and Top Banana). A total of 200 hectares (ha) will eventually be planted over the next two years. This will see the Territory become a significant banana production area in Australia. Last year, the Territory Government offered around 350 ha of land near Lambells Lagoon for horticultural development. This will see the area become one of Territorys main commercial horticultural production regions in the future. Good prospects also exist for the nursery and cut flower industries. The nursery industry, in particular, is believed to possess significant potential in light of the Territorys climatic advantages for the production of a wide range of tropical and subtropical plants. Orchids and heliconias are produced for markets in southern capital cities, as well as for overseas export to markets including Japan and Hong Kong. Kangaroo Paw and Gypsophila are promising cut flowers from Central Australia. A Taiwanese company, Nan Pao, is proposing to establish a spirulina cultivation and processing plant near Darwin in mid 1997. The Territorys tropical weather and low pollution environment Rural Industries and Fisheries 61