An Indigenous community near Fitzroy Crossing has started up its own trial plantation of the native bush fruit known as gubinge, or Kakadu plum.
Known for its high levels of vitamin C, there is strong demand for gubinge in Australia and overseas.
But supply is an issue, with most of the fruit collected by Indigenous communities harvesting from the wild.
Jason Dinning from the Marra Worra Worra Corporation said the gubinge trial was an exciting prospect for the region and the Ngalingkadji community.
“The ability to grow a tree that’s from country, on-country, with local Aboriginal people and develop a new industry in an area where there’s not a lot of economy, that’s where we’re aiming to go with this,” he told ABC Rural.
“We’d like to see the plantation succeed and we could then go to other communities and get them on board with planting gubinge trees.”
Community looking to other produce
Mr Dinning said the trial plantation consists of 70 trees and the community were working closely with North Regional TAFE to establish training in its cultivation.
He said the community was also getting ready to grow fresh produce.
“The other part of this project is the inter-cropped market garden produce, which will provide a secondary product for the community with watermelons, pumpkins and other produce,” he said.
“We start planting next week and it’s really exciting.”
Bush foods boom
Australian Native Food Industry Limited chair Amanda Garner said northern Australia was witnessing an increased interest in gubinge plantations, led by the Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga, south of Broome.
She agreed that consistency of supply was a major issue for the Kakadu plum industry and to see Indigenous communities taking control of the issue was wonderful.
“There’s risks with any agriculture industry, but I think the native foods industry really is growing,” she said.
This was originally published by ABC.net.au.