The economic value of this horticultural growth to the Coffs Harbour Electorate is in excess of $1.5billion, with farm gate returns for berries alone exceeding $300 million.
The economic value of this horticultural growth to the Coffs Harbour Electorate is in excess of $1.5billion, with farm gate returns for berries alone exceeding $300 million. Trevor Veale

Nats call for more on-farm DPI support

THE Nationals' candidate for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, has written to Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to call for two new DPI extension officers to be posted on the Coffs Coast.

Mr Singh said the electorate's horticultural industry was rapidly expanding and carried an economic value of $1.5 billion, but the DPI's nearest extension officer was in Wollongbar, a 21/2-hour drive away.

"Inexperience of some farmers and a lack of support from the DPI has resulted in poor practices and deteriorating relationships between all farmers and the community," he said.

 

Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh.
Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh. TREVOR VEALE

Chairman of OzGroup Co-op, Mr Singh said the co-op, in conjunction with its marketing partners, had employed seven full-time agronomy/field officers to advise co-op members - only - on best practice.

 

"I am writing ... to ask for further on-ground DPI staff ... to assist the farming community and therefore resolve angst within the community," he said in his letter to the Minister.



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