Ginger is believed to have originated in the tropical jungles of southern Asia, probably in the region of modern-day India. Above ground, it is a reed-like plant with lush green leaves growing to about one metre tall. Below ground, is a fleshy rhizome, the part of the plant that is commonly used. The rhizome grows and branches throughout the growing season, sending up more shoots from the new branches.
The Australian industry produces about 8,000 tonnes each year, with a farm gate value of about AU$32 million. About 60% of the production is sold on the fresh market, and the remainder is processed for the food manufacturing and retail sectors.
The ginger industry is mechanised, standardised and centralised, and production is capital and labour-intensive. The growing requires high inputs of good quality water, fertiliser and organic matter; significant investment in irrigation systems and specialised planting and harvesting equipment; and sufficient land to rotate the crop every 1–4 years.
Ginger production in Australia is an established industry, with a grower Research & Development (R&D) levy established in 2010 and an RD&E Plan developed for 2017–22. Growers are represented by the Australian Ginger Industry Association.
Facts and figures
- It was first grown in Australia in the early 1900s, at Buderim in south east Queensland, to supply the fresh ginger market
- The Australian industry produces about 8,000 tonnes each year, and is centred in south east Queensland
- Around 60% of Australian production goes to the domestic fresh market, and the remainder to processing
- About 40% of the world’s supply of confectionery ginger is processed and supplied by a Queensland company
- Global production averages 3.3 million tonnes, with India producing 30%, Chian and Nigeria producing 26% and Indonesia, Nepal, and Thailand producing the next 20%
The Australian industry produces about 8,000 tonnes of ginger each year, with an estimated farm gate value of AU$32 million.
About 60% of the crop is sold fresh and the remainder is sold to processors to manufacture confectionery, pickled products, brewed drinks or paste for cooking. Processing adds a further AU$80 million to the value of the industry.
There are approximately 40 commercial growers growing about 250 hectares of ginger, comprising three large operations of over 50 hectares of crop, about 10 medium-sized operations with about five hectares each, and the remainder were small operations of about 0.5–1.0 hectare each in production.
Most growers derive the majority of their income from fresh ginger and supply the domestic fresh market and the organic produce market.