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Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) as a Sustainable Indigenous Agribusiness


Kakadu Plum(Terminalia ferdinandiana) as a Sustainable Indigenous Agribusiness. In northern Australia, commercial use of plant products can provide Aboriginal people with important livelihood opportunities. Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana Exell.) is a species endemic to northern Australia with exceptional phytochemical properties and industry applications. Aboriginal people have a long history of customary use of many parts of this plant, and as scientific research provides evidence for commercial applications, it is under increasing demand. It has the highest level of ascorbic acid of any fruit in the world and also commercially important antioxidants. This paper reviews the unique characteristics of T. ferdinandiana fruit as a commercial plant product, the people and landscapes in which it grows, and the current state of knowledge for building a successful agribusiness based on these factors. It demonstrates the great potential T. ferdinandiana has as a sustainable Indigenous business and identifies the important research and development gaps that need to be addressed. These include improved understanding of taxonomy, floral biology, and drivers of variability in the properties in T. ferdinandiana leaves and fruit; better understanding of aspirations of Aboriginal suppliers for participation in the agribusiness supply chain; and specific supply chain models that suit Aboriginal suppliers of T. ferdinandiana to service a range of potential national and international markets.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, who hosted this Ph.D. research. The community of Wadeye in the Northern Territory and the Thamarrurr Development Corporation provided valuable support and advice for many years.

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Correspondence to Julian T. Gorman.

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Received 18 April 2019; accepted 11 August 2019.

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Gorman, J.T., Wurm, P.A.S., Vemuri, S. et al. Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) as a Sustainable Indigenous Agribusiness. Econ Bot 74, 74–91 (2020).

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Key Words

  • Aboriginal
  • enterprise
  • antioxidant
  • Indigenous ecological knowledge