IT'S NOT every day you can dig up a sweet potato for the Prime Minister.

But it's something Eric Coleman can tick off his bucket list, having given Malcolm Turnbull enough fresh produce to take home to wife Lucy.

Eric Coleman speaking to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Eric Coleman speaking to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Eric, from Aus sweetpotato has been growing the produce on his Gracemere property since 2003, but said he only seriously got into business about 2008.

He was pleased to see the Federal Government committing to Rookwood Weir, promising $130 million to get the priority water project off the ground.

"I think it's a great announcement because farming in this country is expanding, there are a lot of export opportunities ... but water is a huge issue," Eric said.

"It's a dry country. Take our situation, we've got a beautiful location, heaps of sunlight ... but without irrigation we wouldn't do what we do here.

"In Australia there's not many places you can grow intensive crops without irrigation."

Eric said it was difficult to secure property with good water in Central Queensland for an affordable price.

"You've got to go and invest a lot of money in land and gear and infrastructure and if you haven't got reliable water you're on a road to disaster," he said.

"People in our industry are paying pretty big money for land with secure water."

Eric said for decades, there was enough water to service production in the region.

But things were changing.

"Agriculture definitely is growing, whether it be fruit and vegetables or pulses or cattle, it's getting bigger all the time so we need reliable water," Eric said.



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