Commercialisation of native rice for Indigenous enterprise development: Agronomy and value-adding

  • Bellairs, Sean (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)
  • Wurm, Penny (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)
  • Hoang, Thi My Linh (Co Investigator/Chief Investigator B)
  • Klaric, Stefanija (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    The Challenge
    Australian native rice grows in natural wetlands throughout the Northern Territory and Queensland. It is currently wild harvested for research purposes but only in very small quantities from crocodile infested environments using airboats. This harvest method cannot be implemented economically at scale.

    Project Aim
    The project aims to lay the foundations for commercialisation of Australian native rice as a high-value, low-volume, culturally-identified, nutritious food, especially for tourism, gourmet food and restaurant markets; and for value-added products.
    . The project will:
    • Collect samples of wild grown populations of three species of Australian native rices, Oryza meridionalis, O. rufipogon and O. australiensis, from wetlands in the NT and Queensland, for cultivation trials.
    • Investigate the agronomy of native rice under controlled conditions at NT Government research stations to develop and validate approaches to cultivate Australian native rice,
    • Scale-up native rice cultivation trials with CRC partner Indigenous enterprises in the NT and Queensland,
    • Analyse and compare nutritional values of the Australian and Canadian wild rice species,
    • Develop new milling techniques for native Australian rice and apply learnings from Canadian indigenous industry to commercialise wild rice as a gourmet/health food and inputs to nutritional supplements.

    The partnership
    The involvement of CRC partners, Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours and Olive Vale Pastoral Pty Ltd demonstrates strong support for the project among Australian Indigenous enterprises and communities. Myera, an indigenous enterprise working with the Cree people in Manitoba, Canada, has successfully developed advanced cultivation techniques for Canadian native rice and supplies both mainstream and niche nutrition products in North America markets. The involvement of Myera adds a first nation collaboration dimension to the project with potential for indigenous bilateral trade partnerships. NT DPIR is making a substantial commitment in facilities and staff, has been conducting rice trials in the NT and has a Research Agronomist with more than 25 years of rice research experience. The university partners have been undertaking research on Australian native rice for over 25 years, including research into its ecology and undertaking,cooking trials and market surveys of tourists and restaurants with Pudakul.
    Effective start/end date1/04/2031/03/24


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