Bush fruit

Unique train­ing pro­gram

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Kim­ber­ley bush fruit has be­come a class act for stu­dents tak­ing part in a train­ing pro­gram de­signed to support the emerg­ing in­dus­try.

The Con­nect­ing with Coun­try pro­gram of­fered through the North Re­gional TAFE this month of­fers skills in prop­a­gat­ing a range of high-value lo­cal bush tucker, in­clud­ing gub­inge.

It fol­lows the es­tab­lish­ment of a pi­lot plan­ta­tion at Ngal­ingkadji Com­mu­nity in the Fitzroy Val­ley late last year and an ex­pan­sion of an ex­ist­ing plan­ta­tion at Bidyadanga com­mu­nity, 190km south of Broome, with more than 200 of the “su­per-fruit” trees.

The Bidyadanga plan­ta­tion has pro­duced com­mer­cial quan­ti­ties of fruit for the past three years but this year’s crop was de­pleted by storms and heavy rain just be­fore har­vest.

NRT hor­ti­cul­ture lec­turer Kim Courte­nay has co-or­di­nated the gub­inge cul­ti­va­tion meth­ods and trials and is de­liv­er­ing the lat­est stu­dent pro­gram.

He said it was an ex­cit­ing time for the bush-food in­dus­try af­ter a trial plot at the Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment’s re­search fa­cil­ity at Carnar­von pro­duced more than 200kg of gub­inge from 25 trees that were do­nated by NRT’s Broome cam­pus seven years ago.

“The suc­cess of the trial in Carnar­von demon­strates that gub­inge will grow across a wide area of the State," Mr Courte­nay said. “This should en­cour­age support for a lo­cal in­dus­try, fol­low­ing re­cent news that plan­ta­tions have been es­tab­lished over­seas.”

NRT Broome train­ing man­ager Jef­frey Cooper said as well as cov­er­ing skills and knowl­edge to grow in­no­va­tive new species, the Con­nect­ing with Coun­try pro­gram would cover con­tem­po­rary land man­age­ment, prop­a­ga­tion and ir­ri­ga­tion tech­niques.

“The pro­gram will pro­vide stu­dents with an edge in es­tab­lish­ing sus­tain­able pro­duce in lo­cal con­di­tions,” he said.

“It would also in­clude a pre­scribed burn­ing ex­er­cise at NRT’s Balu Buru site at 12 Mile (near Broome) pro­vid­ing an in­sight into the huge dif­fer­ence tra­di­tional-style con­trolled burn­ing has on coun­try.”

Green Army pro­gram par­tic­i­pants Dian­nah and Cristina Le­man. Pic­ture: North Re­gional TAFE

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