Australia wants slice of $12bn spice trade

Field trials for five spice crops in the north

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A new project will determine whether northern Australia can support the development of spice crops.

A new project will determine whether northern Australia can support the development of spice crops.

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Five spice crops to be trialled in northern Australia.

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The federal government is investing in a new project in northern Australia with the aim of entering the $12 billion global spice trade.

A $1.2 million research project hopes to establish a "new, high-value broadacre condiment industry" to serve local and export markets, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said on Monday.

It will test whether the region can support spice crops and if successful it could lead to new opportunities for Australian growers.

A number of small field trials will be run in Queensland and the Northern Territory to test the performance of five spice crops: cumin, caraway, black sesame, kalonji and fennel.

The trials will be held in Rockhampton, Biloela, Burdekin and Tully in Queensland, and Katherine and Darwin in the NT.

The project will run for three years and will assess the market, supply and agronomic systems.

"It is thought the project will generate around $8.4 million in economic activity by the end of the third year, including about $1.2 million in income at farm gate level," the minister says.

"If it takes off, there's a great opportunity for us to replace imported product and potentially generate exports."

The project will be funded through the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia.

Australian Associated Press

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