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POSSIBLE RICE AREAS IN NORTHERN AUSTRALIA Potential rlcefields exist in the Kimberleys and the Northern Territory according to a report recently presented to the Commonwealth Government.
The report followed a survey of northern areas by Mr. W. Poggendorff, chief of the divi sion of plant industry of the Department of Agriculture, Sydney. He made the survey for the Rice Equalisation Association. The areas in the Kimberleys referred to by Mr. Poggendorff are as follows: Thirty square miles of Yeeda Plains, 25 miles from Derby; an exten sive section of Liveringa Plains, 60 miles from Derby; 16 square miles of Gogo Plains, two miles from Mar garet Downs station; and an unstated area along the Ord River. Mr. Poggendorif says that rice has so far not performed well at the Kimberley experimental re search station, except for one crop in 1948, which was des troyed by cockatoos Further ex periments are planned for this season with the object of check ing the apparent response to phosphorus and to observe the results of nitrogen and potash in association with heavy dressings of phosphorus. ORD RIVER AREA. His report adds: "Any attempt to develop the Ord River area on a major scale, blindly or pre maturely, on incomplete or un verified investigations, is fraught with the greatest risk of economic failure and a consequent setback to the development of the Kim berley region, which may well prove permanent." In a foreword to the report. the chairman of the Rice Equalisa tion Association (Mr. A. E. Sy mons) describes the report as good news for those who have viewed the empty, sparsely in habited Northern Territory and Kimberleys with apprehension and anxiety. He says that the stratetgic value of such develop ment is of top-level importance. The development of ricefields in the north should be regarded not only as a commercial venture with a vast potential, but also as a defence sneasure of the greatest national urgency. The region directly faces the "teeming mil lions of the Indies and Southern Asia." Mr. Symons said: "Rice will con tinue to be in. short supply on the world's markets for many years to come. Marketing au thorities predict a continued scarcity for 25 years. Before the war there was an exportable sur plus for world markets of 6,500, 000 tons, most of which came from Burma, Siam .and Indo China. Today this supply has dwindled to less than 1.500.000 tons and is still dwindling be cause of the turmoil in those countries. There will continue to be a ready market for rice in Far Eastern countries where the lack of this staple diet is the factor that limits the improve ment of living standards."