Bunya seasons come and go but there is one constant - literally hundreds of tonnes of the nut 'go to waste' due to lack of interest or knowledge.
The (proposed) Bunya Consortium is being formed to address this - and more.
In the first instance, we will be approaching all interested parties - the Indigenous people of the region, State Forestry (who sit on a lot of Bunyas!), private landholders .. the list goes on but it is important that we start with as wide a base as possible.
The role of the consortium will be to identify the bunya areas, the bearing trees and the people who might harvest the cones.
Step two is to develop a transport system to get the nuts to the processing centre.
Step three is concurrent - create a processing centre - with a 'state of the art' bunya splitter.
While all this nitty gritty is going on, we also need to gather together food processors, chemists and chefs to develop the best products possible - in terms of market acceptability and the potential of the nut itself.
And of course, we will have a marketing/distribution wing to actually get the product out there!
There is research to be done, experimentation to undertake, risks to be embraced.
The idea is to form this consortium as a cooperative - members putting in their time, effort and product to get it off the ground. There will likely be little return in the short term - income will be ploughed back into the business to bring it up to speed, improve the product and refine the marketing.
If all that goes well (and climate change doesn't totally ruin the harvesting cycle!), we'll have formed something of a new model for food production.
There are a number potentially exciting areas with the bunya - apart from its value as a gluten free flour, there is also its potential for tempe making - and it was pointed out to me that the waste product - the shell - was pretty well fire proof so there may be some potential in this 'waste product'.
If you're interested and feel you can play a part in the enterprise, get in touch!