13 June 2012
The Australian Government in partnership with Cotton Australia is helping Japanese rice farmers transition to cotton crops in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has today announced the Australian Government will be contributing $40,000 to facilitate the purchase, shipment and set up of a cotton harvesting machine by Cotton Australia which will assist farmers in tsunami affected areas.
The cotton harvesting machine will support the Tohoku Cotton Project which aims to help revitalise Japanese agriculture affected by the tsunami to trial cotton production in place of rice.
Minister Ludwig made the announcement while visiting cotton producers in Narromine and said the Tohoku Cotton Project in Japan is helping to support farmers in each step of the supply chain which included providing seeds and plantation guidance.
“The impact of the tsunami in Japan has meant rice farming is no longer a viable industry in some of the affected areas,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The Tohoku Cotton Project has found that cotton is more salt-tolerant and can grow in areas with increased soil salinity.
“I visited this region when I was in Japan at the end of 2011, and I am pleased that we can contribute to the recovery of their agriculture sector.”
To assist in this project, the Australian government has partnered with Cotton Australia to each provide $40,000 towards the cotton harvesting machine. Cotton Australia will use the funding for the purchase and shipment of the cotton harvesting machine, as well as provide essential assistance in its set-up and maintenance in Japan.
Prior to the tsunami, rice was the main crop produced. By assisting with trials of cotton, this funding will help Japan in adapting and recovering its agricultural industry.
The Australian Government provided initial support to Japan in the earthquake and tsunami aftermath and is pleased to continue support for the sustainability of agriculture to our longstanding and important trading partner.