A Growcom-led project valued at $203,600 that aims to build horticulture knowledge and capacity within indigenous enterprises has been greenlit by the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan.
Growcom’s Innovation Coach Steve Tiley and members of the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) joined Mr Canavan in Townsville last week where he announced $4 million worth of research projects to create jobs in northern Australia.
One of the research projects, to be led by Growcom, involves Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation and Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation. The project will research how these two motivated Indigenous enterprises can foster and demonstrate horticulture production within an Indigenous business model.
Running until March 2020, the project takes a holistic business development approach to identify specific research needs in areas of value chains, agronomy, business and marketing. Steve Tiley aims to provide independent guidance and assistance to these enterprises, linking them to funding and grants for which they may be eligible to build commercially viable business opportunities.
Growcom is pleased to facilitate the project which will establish commercial horticulture production sites at Mungalla Station, near Ingham, and Gudjuda at Home Hill.
Under the guidance of an independent agronomist, each site will become home to a mix of commercial and native plants. Mungalla Station will plant one to two hectares of commercial vegetable crops with their internal nursery supplying the seedlings. While Gudjuda already has a successful market garden crop venture under way with two hectares under cultivation accompanied by a self-supplying seedling nursery.
By the end of the 2019, each site is expected to grow its vegetable crop production with more employment and training opportunities for indigenous communities across northern Australia.
So far, five projects across agricultural, health and business-development sectors have received funding as part of the CRCNA’s first open funding call.
Growcom thanks CRCNA for contributing more than $1.6 million towards these projects which will bring together research leaders and industry representatives from across northern Australia to solve issues affecting industries including our own.