The benefits of growing fruit and vegetable crops in controlled, sheltered environments to boost food production in WA will be the focus of an industry forum in Mandurah later in May 2018.
The Protected Horticulture in WA Forum on 29 May 2018 is being hosted by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Peel Development Commission, as part of the State Government’s Transform Peel initiative.
Department senior researcher Heather Percy said the forum was a great opportunity for all aspects of the industry to come together with researchers and government planners and regulators to learn about innovative approaches to farming and food production in Western Australia. The forum is open to all interested members of the community.
“Protected cropping is a prime example of how we can apply new technologies to grow and diversify horticultural production,” Ms Percy said.
“Protected cropping is basically the production of fruit and vegetables using a sheltered structure such as a glasshouse to modify growing conditions and protect crops from pests and adverse weather.
“This concept also includes soil-less environments such as hydroponics and aquaponics, controlled LED lighting that can reduce growing time and increase nutrient content of the produce, and vertical farming to further reduce the environmental footprint.”
Ms Percy said participants would hear from local growers with experience in protected cropping, and be invited to contribute ideas about the opportunities and ways to overcome the challenges to protected cropping in WA.
“Keynote speaker Graeme Smith, of Graeme Smith Consulting in Victoria, will provide an overview on the future of protected cropping and soil-less agriculture in WA,” she said.
“The program also includes an interactive session featuring local grower Bao Duy Nguyen (Sun City Produce) who will talk about his protected horticulture system in Geraldton and his international study into protective cropping fruit and vegetables.
“Baldivis growers Paul Humble will discuss his 30 years’ experience with hydroponic cucumbers and Alex Norman will speak about growing hydroponic tomatoes.
“Murdoch University’s Singapore Centre for Research Innovation Productivity and Technology Associate Professor Chris Vas is attending to talk about vertical farming and Ben Cole from Wide Open Agriculture will also present.”
Source: WA DPIRD