Australia: Native Kimberley superfruit to hit the global stage -

Australia: Native Kimberley superfruit to hit the global stage

Countries More News Most Read Top Stories
Australia: Native Kimberley superfruit to hit the global stage

Plans to globally market a superfruit native to a region in Western Australia are reportedly ripe for the picking, a decade after a gubinge plantation was first trialled in Kimberley. zambia-82448_640

Publication West Australian reported the fruit, also known as billygoat plum, Kakadu plum or murunga, had performed very well in horticultural tests in the Aboriginal community of Bidyadanga.

Now the aim is to expand the operation, with the ultimate hope of commercializing the enterprise to create local jobs and drive economic sustainability.

The partnership involves the Bidyadanga community, Kullari Regional Communities Incorporated (KRCI) and the Kimberley Training Institute (KTI).

Four hundred seedlings first went into the ground there a decade ago, and the story said they had been resilient in the face of being starved of water over prolonged periods, now bursting into life as warmed weather triggers another growing season.

The roundish, light-green fruits have very high concentrations of vitamin C and antioxidants, and their extracts are in demand internationally.

KTI horticulture lecturer Kim Courtenay, who coordinated the original plantings and was delivering the current project, said the trees had survived in recent years despite problems with the irrigation system.

"Through the current program we’re repairing and extending the irrigation system and aim to plant another 200 young trees before the end of the year", he was quoted as saying.

"Earlier this year gubinge fetched up to $20 (US$14) a kilo and with some cultivated trees producing up to 50 kilos (110 pounds) in a good season, apart from the health and social benefits; it’s a lucrative economic opportunity for communities."

With the recent release of the Federal Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and its commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture and Aboriginal enterprises, Courtenay said gubinge and bush food production had enormous potential.

Meanwhile, an initiative in the Northern Territory led through the philanthropic Kindred Spirits Foundation, in partnership with several research, training and Aboriginal organizations is developing an “across the north” approach to the processing and marketing of gubinge, known there as Kakadu plum.

An overarching aim of the Kindred Spirits venture is to create meaningful employment for Aboriginal people through wild harvesting and cultivation using a combination of traditional land management practices and modern techniques in horticulture and agronomy.

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Subscribe to our newsletter