Exploring Indigenous enterprise development and the commercial potential of Terminalia ferdinandiana (Kakadu plum) as an Indigenous agribusiness across northern Australia

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Millions of people globally are dependent on customary and commercial use of wildlife. Many Australian Aboriginal communities aspire towards developing natural resource-based enterprises. However, a unique combination of historical, legislative and institutional factors makes this process complex. Wild harvest of Kakadu plum is an emerging industry across northern Australia with potential for significant growth. This study examines two related research aims: firstly, to position the potential of the Kakadu plum industry growing into an Indigenous agribusiness; and secondly, to identify the barriers impacting Aboriginal business development. This research addressed the first aim by demonstrating the commercial potential of Kakadu plum across the multi-functional landscapes of northern Australia. The Kakadu plum industry was then reviewed which demonstrated significant potential for its growth into an Indigenous agribusiness if major research and development gaps were filled. To better understand factors effecting fruit yields, anthesis and pollen compatibility of Kakadu plum flowers were researched, thus contributing to a knowledge gap around its reproductive biology. The second aim was addressed through a case study of a 15-year-old Kakadu plum Enterprise, in the Thamarrurr Region, Northern Territory, Australia. This research demonstrated a need for greater economic acumen to be developed within Aboriginal natural resource-based enterprises in remote communities. Northern Australia is fortunate to have vast areas of relatively intact landscapes and important natural and cultural heritage values. These resources offer remote Aboriginal communities significant livelihood opportunities which can be realised with appropriate capital investment in infrastructure and equipment as well as funding for engagement and capacity building. It is recommended that government programs be less prescriptive in their approach, to allow the community themselves to determine the weighting of important economic, social and cultural values. Developing an agribusiness requires long term investment and support which would best be achieved by a targeted government policy directive.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPenny Wurm (Supervisor), Chris Brady (Supervisor), Gretchen Ennis (Supervisor), Sultanbawa Yasmina (Supervisor) & Ram Vemuri (Supervisor)

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