SYDNEY, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Northern Australia is looking to establish the nation's very own spice trail with the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) outlining a project on Monday to help farmers grow a new high-value industry.
Headed by Central Queensland University's Dr Surya Bhattarai, the program will see five crops taken from small to large-scale production within three years, with the long-term goal of muscling in on the 8.2 billion U.S. dollar global spice trade.
Initially planning to run small trials of cumin, fennel, kalonji, caraway and black sesame crops after earlier glasshouse testing showed they had strong potential for inclusion in broadacre crop rotations, Bhattarai said these will be conducted across several different locations and used to assess the suitability of crops for wide-scale commercial production in northern Australia.
"Commercial trials are due to start in the project's final year, by which time we will also have a comprehensive manual for producers detailing which crops to grow, the best areas to grow them and an outline of the market and supply chain opportunities," he said.
Hoping to replace imports and generate exports to Asia and the Middle East, CRCNA CEO Jed Matz said the move has the potential to transform the region's agribusinesses sector.
"This project will build the supply chain links needed to establish a new and viable industry for northern Australia and create new income streams for producers," he said.