Primary Industries are one of Tasmania’s great competitive strengths and the Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to growing this sector to stimulate the economy and create regional jobs.
Today we are launching Tasmania’s Agri-Food Plan 2016-2018 which is a system for sustainably growing Tasmanian primary industries. The Plan focuses the collective efforts of Government and the private-sector and lays out initiatives to grow Tasmania’s agriculture and food sector, including seafood.
The plan includes initiatives in areas including: small business programs, energy, transport and freight, which contribute to the viability and growth of important agri-food sectors, and it includes an extension of the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme by an additional $10 million, to a total of $20 million, as part of the vision to grow agriculture.
A pilot of the $10 million Scheme to provide low interest loans to Tasmanian farm and agri-food businesses has been running for the past year and already there have been 15 loans approved worth a total of $7.465 million, we have four applications in progress worth another $2.144 million and a further six applicants working through the investigation stage.
A diverse range of agricultural projects have been funded – including small fruit farm expansions, vineyard redevelopments, organic nut processing, expanded grazing operations, dam infrastructure, a farm retail outlet and boutique breweries.
The additional $10 million is expected to turn great ideas into long-term profitable businesses that will generate economic growth and jobs, particularly in regional Tasmania.
The minimum loan amount has been increased from $30,000 to $100,000 while the maximum loan amount has increased from $1 million to $1.5 million.
Applications for the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme have been extended until the end of September 2018.
These loans, together with other initiatives in Tasmania’s Agri-Food Plan 2016-2018 across Agriculture policy and industry development, Biosecurity, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Water resources and Irrigation, State Growth, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, the Marine and Antarctic Studies and Education, will support growth in the primary industry, agri-business and food sectors.
The Plan also confirms the commitment to working in partnership with the private sector – farmers, fishers, primary producers, processors, industry groups and agri-business – to keep delivering future policies and initiatives.
Practical examples of the Plan’s initiatives include:
Tracking our progress is important and the Tasmanian Agri-Food ScoreCard provides extensive data on Tasmanian food production, including data on the value of agriculture and seafood production, the value added to packed and processed food along the chain and the markets into which the products are sold.
The 2014-15 ScoreCard has confirmed that our primary producers are achieving extraordinary results, despite many challenges.
The Tasmanian Agri-Food ScoreCard 2014-15 and Tasmania’s Agri-Food Plan 2016-18 can be accessed online at: dpipwe.tas.gov.au/agrifoodplan
More information, including Application Forms and Guidelines for the AgriGrowth Loan Scheme is available on the State Growth website: http://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/home/grants_and_funding/loans/agrigrowth