Darwin ginger trial shows promise

22nd March 2021 | Eativity editors

Harnessing the Northern Territory’s humidity and wet weather, an emerging greenhouse ginger trial that’s part of a collaboration with the Territory government and a commercial nursery in Darwin is delivering some promising results.

Grower Michael Jakobi, who currently has about 550 ginger plants on the go at his Berrimah greenhouse, is having some great success growing ginger in tree bags, and believes the Northern Territory can establish a disease-free ginger industry, which could lead to premium prices for seed ginger – up to $25 a kilo.

“We’re getting excellent results,” Jakobi says. “We had problems with bugs, but we’ve sorted that out. I’m hoping to grow commercial quantities for consumption, but we need to deliver these trials and earn a reputation for clean, green, disease-free ginger first.”

Jakobi is spicing things up in the Top End, creating opportunities for a new NT ginger industry.

The trial focuses on the production of two varieties of ginger – Queensland Gold and Canton – and provides a practical opportunity to improve biosecurity and crop management practices for ginger growers in the Territory.

 The Territory’s plant industries – including its famous mangoes, melons and Asian vegetables – are valued at $445 million, and NT Minister for Agribusiness and Aquaculture Nicole Manison says this trial presents another exciting economic opportunity, with strong support from local growers and the broader industry.

“The preliminary results from the trial indicate the potential value from a hectare of greenhouse space of ginger is approximately $175,000,” Manison says.

Jakobi says the growing ginger smells and tastes amazing.

The government is working with local growers to establish opportunities for emerging agricultural sectors by harnessing some of the Top End’s competitive advantages. These include the humid climate and generous rainfall, but also a supply chain with the potential to facilitate further investment and employment.

The Australian ginger industry has a farmgate value of $32 million, and ginger is currently mostly grown in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions of South East Queensland. This new trial is still in the early stages, but Jakobi says he relishes the challenge.

“I could be called a bloody idiot for always doing the hard stuff,” he says. “But someone saying ‘it can’t be done’ is like a red rag to a bull for me.”