Revitalised native grain industry gaining momentum

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A proud Gamilaroi man who recently started his own native grains business is partnering with a research team from the University of Sydney to share knowledge, revitalise country and help grow the emerging native grains industry.

Les Knox, who owns and operates Garaah Gundal, will this summer lead a harvest collaboration with local farmers as part of a project to modernise Indigenous native grain processing and produce flour from the region’s traditional grain varieties.

Provided there is a break in the current wet weather, Mr Knox and other native grain growers around Northwest NSW are expecting a bumper harvest in January.

“There’s not going to be a better season for locals to sample and enjoy the delicate flavours of the normal bush foods that have served locals prior to European settlement, and everyone is invited to join the fun,” Mr Knox said.

“Each of the native grain species adds a unique taste to bread, biscuits, pizza and crackers.”

A training, yarning and networking day will be held at the IA Watson Grains Research Centre in Narrabri on Monday, 14 November to connect Indigenous people, industry and growers with the latest research to support an economically, culturally, socially and environmentally sustainable native grains industry.

Project lead, Dr Angela Pattison from the University of Sydney said the event was the culmination of several years of local groundwork including trial harvests, cultural heritage research, business development and on-farm extension.

“Northwest NSW (Gomeroi and Yuwaalaraay Country) has an international reputation for producing high-quality grains, and it is expected that the locally grown native grains such as guli and ganalay will also quickly gain a reputation for their quality,” Dr Pattison said.

“Indigenous people have sustainably managed native grain fields around here for thousands of years and their oversight is vital as this industry emerges,” she said.

Dr Pattison said the harvest collaboration will form a basis for partnerships with landholders, industry, processors and retailers to ensure the benefits are shared.

“Native millet (guli in Gamilaraay) is worth hundreds of dollars a kilogram,” she said.

“However, this grain is more than a commodity – it has the potential to sequester carbon, preserve biodiversity and yield an edible grain from the same hectare of land.”

The project is supported by North West Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government, AgriFutures Australia, Regional Development Australia and The University of Sydney.

AgriFutures Australia’s Emerging Industries Program is supporting the development of the native foods industry through research to build production, attract investment and drive market demand for native food products.

For more information on the free training and yarning session next month, contact or call 6799 2200.

Event details:

Native grains training, yarning and networking day
9.30am for a 10am start
Monday, 14 November 2022
IA Watson Grains Research Centre
12656 Kamilaroi Highway, Narrabri, NSW

Learn more about the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program and subscribe to the mailing list to receive project updates: Emerging Industries | AgriFutures Australia

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