North Australian native rice: Market evaluation of a potential new wild food enterprise

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Australian native rices (Oryza rufipogon and O meridionalis) are an abundant and widespread resource on floodplains across monsoonal northern Australia, where rural and remote communities are keen to expand economic opportunities. Native Australian rice has been harvested and consumed by Aboriginal people until historical times (Ashwin 1930; Fukiwarra 1985). Studies of other enterprises (Gorman and Whitehead 2005) indicate that wild rice may have the potential to support new, small-scale, wild-harvest enterprises. Previous RIRDC-funded work on wild rice grain properties has indicated that the nutritional and cooking qualities of native rice collected from the wild are suitable as a food product (Wurm et al. 2012).

This Northern Territory (NT) study aims to build on the previous investigation of the food qualities of native rices, by undertaking a preliminary assessment of the market for a wild rice food product. In order to do this the project brings together traditional owners and enterprise developers, researchers and potential product buyers.

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