Oyster farmers in NSW are anticipating greater investment into their industry.
Oyster farmers in NSW are anticipating greater investment into their industry. Contributed

Investing in oysters

OYSTER farmers in NSW are anticipating greater investment into their industry with the release of a financial strategy next week, supported by the Farming Together program.

The strategy has been endorsed by Ocean Watch and the NSW Farmers Oyster Committee, and will be launched at the committee's AGM at Sydney on Monday.

The strategy is made up of five documents including industry factsheets, templates and FAQ's.

It helps address an industry priority, to improve the sector's ability to secure bank and other sources of finance.

Kel Henry from Wonboyn Rock Oysters, and a member of the Oyster Strategy Implementation Group, said, "this priority stems from the finance sectors' lack of awareness and understanding about the oyster industry and its potential for growth."

He approached the Australian Government's Farming Together Program and the group was assigned a consultant, Mel Trethowan, to develop the finance support pack. 

"It was great to work with Mel on the project," he said.

"I would recommend the Farming Together Program as a very valuable initiative and in my opinion the outcome for our industry was really outstanding."

He said the materials in the pack will help to educate the finance industry about the oyster industry and its investment potential.

"It will also increase the ability of farmers to access appropriate and timely finance to upgrade, innovate and grow their businesses.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said, "this is an enabling project strongly supported by the producers and their wider industry.”

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon.
Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon. Contributed

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program, known as Farming Together, has been a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.

In two years Farming Together has had contact with more than 28,500 farmers, making it possibly Australia's largest farmer agency.

It supported more than 730 collaborative farm, fish and forestry groups.

In its first year, the program turned a $9.21m Australian Government investment into $20.45m of value-added production, creating 131 full-time equivalent jobs.

The Farming Together pilot program was delivered by Southern Cross University and finished on Saturday, June 30.

For more information on the package, visit goo.gl/CYuoub



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