2 Apr 2012

One million hectares under irrigation envisaged

6:46 am on 2 April 2012

Ambitious plans to expand irrigation schemes to cover a million hectares of the nation's farmland will be the focus of Irrigation New Zealand's conference and expo in Timaru over the next three days.

IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis says there's potential to boost the present 650,000ha of irrigated farmland to more than one million hectares, which would boost food production.

But there are a number of challenges to overcome.

"There are some challenges to how we build regional-scale infrastructure," he says. "What are the models we use to do that, how do we get the finance for it, and ensure that what we put in place is sustainable, socially-acceptable and also economically-viable?"

The three-day event will include a trade expo, where farmers can view the latest irrigation technology.