Reference number: A.1.1718120
Total project value: $505,136
CRCNA funding: $100,000
Project length: 1.5 years
Finish date: 30 May 2020

Participants:

  • Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland (QAAFI UQ)
  • Charles Darwin University (CDU)
  • Olive Vale Pastoral
  • Rice Research Australia (SunRice)
  • WA Dept. of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA DPIRD)
  • Qld Dept. of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)

Research locations:

Research staff will be based in Darwin, Cairns, Kununurra and Brisbane.

Summary:

This industry situational analysis study will, for the first time in Australia, explore and pursue options for the development of a rice industry in northern Australia. It will assess the status of the rice market, rice production and barriers to the industry in northern Australia, Australia and globally and evaluate three key options for industry development.  These are:

  • Wild rice production
  • northern Australian rice production
  • improved rice production

Wild rice production

This option would involve the commercial production of wild rice as a distinct wild Australian food product and would include an evaluation of the potential for wild harvest as well as cultivation of the wild species in northern Australia.

Northern Australian rice production

This option will assess the potential to establish a unique Australian type of domesticated rice by transferring a few key attributes from Australian wild rice into domesticated rice. These would aim to ensure viable production by providing resistance to major local pests and diseases but also add novel consumer traits such as grain size, colour and texture.

Improved rice production

This option would involve evaluating the potential for commercial use of genes from Australian wild rice to support the breeding of rice for global production. This could include support for adaption of rice to climate change.

As part of the project, a Northern Australian Rice Industry support group will be established to provide stewardship to the developing industry. This group will explore the past development and growth patterns in the industry and baseline current industry characteristics, including size, production, income, productivity measures and employment levels to understand capacity and scalability limitations.

Expected outcomes:

  • Provide overview and recommendations on high priority policy, investment and research and development issues facing the industry and where the CRCNA, industry and government should prioritise their research investment in the sector.
  • The early (conservative) economic impact will be in the value of wild rice production. At a retail price of $100 per kg a production of 100 tonnes by year 5 would be worth $10 million per year. A ‘North Australian Rice’ grade produced at a level of 10,000 tonnes per year within 7 years and selling at $5 per kg would be worth $50 million per year.