Aussie barramundi farm wins federal gov't funding

CANBERRA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- A barramundi farm in northern Australia which exports some of its highly prized fish to China has become the first business in the Northern Territory (NT) to receive funds from a new federal initiative aimed at invigorating northern Australia's economy.

Humpty Doo Barramundi, located about an hour's drive east of Darwin, will receive funding of 22 million U.S. dollars which will enable it to increase its workforce by 50 and more than treble its annual output to 10,000 tonnes.

The money has been made available under the 3.8 billion US dollar Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which was set up by the federal government two years ago to stimulate business in northern Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan announced the grant at the Humpty Doo farm late on Wednesday and welcomed NAIF's first investment in the Northern Territory.

"It is exciting to announce the first of what I expect will be many NAIF investments to support job-creating infrastructure projects in the NT," Canavan said.

Humpty Doo Barramundi is the largest producer of farmed barramundi in Australia and the second largest single-site producer globally.

"NAIF's investment will grow the aquaculture business in the Northern Territory, and help to meet growing demand for seafood in both domestic and global markets," Canavan said.

Humpty Doo managing director Dan Richards recently said the increased capacity offered huge export potential into Asia.

"There's a number of distribution chains in China, be it internet shopping or high-end retail, and we think that Australian high quality barramundi has a place in those markets," Richards said.

He said offering the Chinese market processed barramundi would be integral in any export success.

"We'd like to be involved in the establishment of a local fish processing industry, be it on the farm or servicing the wider industry," he said. "It would really open up the possibilities for the markets for our high quality, Northern Territory seafood."

The NAIF was set up in July 2016 with fanfare about developing Australia's economy but has been criticised because there has only been one other project funded so far -- 16 million Australian dollars (about 12 million U.S. dollars) for a marine support base in Western Australia's Pilbara.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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