GUBINGE FRUIT WHOLESALER
Kakadu Plumb Fruit Wholesaler
A major plantation of Kakadu plum trees, also known as gubinge, is set to be established on the outskirts of Broome thanks to a unique land deal between the WA Government and a local Aboriginal corporation.
More than 600 hectares of State Government land, will be leased at no cost to the Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) to establish a native fruit tree orchard.
Water Minister Mia Davies said this was the first lease of its kind to be signed by the Water Corporation.
“I’ve asked the Water Corporation to identify opportunities for them to go beyond compliance, so being a good community member, and this partnership with MAC will be a step towards creating employment, economic, environmental and social benefits for Aboriginal people,” Ms Davies said.
“The project paves the way for a new industry producing native foods, using a blend of traditional and modern horticulture techniques that are chemical free, water efficient and environmentally sustainable.”
Gubinge trees to be planted first
Chief executive of MAC, Neil Gower, said a number of Indigenous plants were being considered for the site, but gubinge trees would be planted first.
He said it would not be a traditional orchard, with the gubinge trees being planted in a style known as savannah enrichment.
“We plan to be environmentally sensitive in terms of how we develop the orchard,” he said.
“We’ll be using a method called savannah enrichment, which is basically planting the native trees within the existing bush, of which there’s a number of advantages to doing that, especially around pollination.
“There is however some fire risk in doing that and we will need to make sure there are fire breaks in place before we start any mass plantings.”
Mr Gower said the site could become Australia’s biggest commercial gubinge plantation, but a lot of marketing, research and development was still needed.
“While others may be rushing in [to the gubinge industry], we’re treading carefully,” Mr Gower said.
“And we want to do the acceptable thing by the native title groups across northern Australia, who we’ll potentially be going into partnership with when we look at a processing plant.
“There’s not enough fruit in the wild harvest [to meet demand] and so this is why we’re looking to plant gubinge trees in masse through the savannah enrichment style, to create the tonnage and potentially meet the demands in the next two to three years.”
If all goes to plan, about 10,000 fruit trees, mostly gubinge, will be planted on the site by early 2018.
The WA Government said the land would be leased to MAC at no cost for the first several years, and the agreement will be revisited once the operation becomes commercially viable.