Peak industry body, the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA, has been offered up to $400,000 from the state government to help reduce on-farm energy costs.
The funding was offered through the government’s Regional Growth Fund for a $1-million project to upgrade existing water pumping systems and install solar technology to improve efficiency.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the funding would assist in reducing on-farm energy costs, with many growers impacted by last year’s hailstorms.
“This Regional Growth Fund project will provide industry wide benefits to SA apple, pear and cherry growers with an estimated five per cent crop increase resulting in an additional $1.5 million in farm gate value to the industry,” Mr Whetstone said.
“The project includes upgrades to 42 existing water pumping systems and the installation of solar technology across 22 properties which represents 70 per cent of SA growers by production volume,” he said.
“I believe the work undertaken by growers through this project could have wide ranging benefits for other horticultural industries that have irrigation as their core in providing greater resilience and sustainability.
APAGA chief executive officer Susie Green said the Regional Growth Fund grant was a boost for the industry.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the positive outcomes from this and helping reduce the day-to-day energy costs of running an orchard,” she said.
The main project partner is Leedn Energy.