IT will be a big year for the NT agricultural industry, with exciting farming developments underway and strong investor interest in the region.
In particular, this year looks to be promising for melon farmers who have recently invested in farm infrastructure and are anticipating strong demand.
The melon season started in February with most growers planting melon seedlings, with the first melons to be harvested in about May.
The season runs until late October, with melons planted and harvested in stages to take full advantage of our growing window.
The Territory has a unique market advantage; we can grow and supply melons during the winter when southern farmers cannot produce fruit.
Not only are our melons the best but they are often the only melons on supermarket shelves during the southern winter period.
Territory melon farmers account for 21 per cent of Australia's production and it generates nearly $70 million to the local economy per annum.
Melons are the territory's second largest horticultural commodity by value.
During harvest season the industry employs roughly 650 workers, all who spend extended periods living and spending money in our regional centres.
The Katherine and Mataranka region is home to several large melon farms.
After two difficult years of COVID lockdowns and supply chain disruptions, the industry is optimistic about 2022.
During the pandemic, demand from the traditionally large tourism and hospitality sectors plummeted; industry expects that this year demand from these sectors will bounce back.
Territory melon farmers have taken a long term approach and invested heavily to upgrade farm infrastructure such as packing sheds to take advantage of the forecast long term demand.
Improved farm infrastructure will help to enhance the Territory's competitiveness and potentially send greater volumes to market.
This year, securing labour will be a challenge for the industry.
NT Farmers will be working with industry to secure all available workers for the season.
NT Farmers encourages anybody who is looking for work to give the industry a go.
It can be a great opportunity for young people to gain exposure to a growing industry and build skills.
Alternatively, there are always positions for grey nomads to work as part of a team to top up their travel funds.
The range of roles on offer are diverse from picking and packing to quality control and management.
If you are looking for new opportunities and experiences in 2022, consider biting into the melon industry.
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