Katherine stands to benefit from $4 million in funding for research into food security, sustainable agriculture and drought resilience for the Top End.
The federal funding will allow Charles Darwin University to establish the Research Institute for Northern Agriculture and Drought Resilience to increase research capability in agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production.
"The new Research Institute will build the Northern Territory's research capability and capacity and develop research strengths and skills to assist the NT primary production sector including pastoral, cropping systems, horticulture, aquaculture, and seafood industries to achieve sustainable industry expansion and resilience to future drought," CDU Acting Vice-Chancellor Mike Wilson said.
"This project will drive the development of new research skills at CDU and will support Indigenous-led enterprise development to meet the challenges of the primary production sector in Northern Australia."
NT Farmers CEO Paul Burke said the institute would play "an essential role in enhancing our knowledge of innovative and sustainable farming techniques in northern Australia.
"Importantly for the Katherine region, it will promote agricultural practices developed specifically for our local conditions," he said.
Mr Burke said that the work undertaken by the institute would be vital for agricultural production in the region, especially in times of drought. "The north is the future of agriculture in Australia, the institute will be the catalyst for its growth and development," he said.
Senator for the Northern Territory Sam McMahon said the funding would provide a huge boost to Darwin and the Top End and grow the skills of the Northern Territory's agriculture workforce.
"Conducting this research in the Northern Territory means its findings can be tailored to meet the unique challenges of farming in Northern Australia," she said.
"Whether it be drought or floods, Australia can be a tough place to farm, but regional Australians have overcome these challenges for generations.
She said that enabling regional Australians to have a larger role in researching areas of critical importance to their communities would result in better outcomes
"How we feed our population in future will remain a key challenge for Australia and the research conducted at CDU will go a long way to overcoming those challenges," she said.
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the project was one of six sharing in nearly $20 million through the first round of the Government's Regional Research Collaboration Program.
"We want our world-class research to be at the forefront of our economic and social success and we want the NT to be a big part of that," Minister Tudge said.
"Our funding will support CDU to work with local industry partners to make their research more viable and targeted, boosting local businesses and creating jobs.
"Food security and better farming practices are key areas of focus for the Government and for regional communities in the NT.
"Australia is a world-leader in agricultural research and development and this project will help the NT increase the efficiency and resilience of its agriculture sector.
Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator Bridget McKenzie said regional Australia was primed to lead our economic recovery post COVID.
"Australia's regional and remote centres of excellence are already generating ground-breaking solutions to real world problems. Its essential they're supported to deepen these communities of expertise," Minister McKenzie said.
"Our investment will also create more opportunities for students to pursue research projects and gain a post-graduate qualification within the NT.
The Government has invested $48.8 million over four years in the RRC Program to boost research capacity in regional Australia. Round two is expected to open in 2022.
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