Central Midlands & Coastal Advocate
Friday, 27 January 2006
DALWALLINU wattle could become a new industry and not just a flower as the Shire of Dalwallinu look into the development of a wattle seed industry.
The Shire of Dalwallinu has been awarded $10,000 in funding through the Wheatbelt Development Commission's (WDC) Wheatlbelt Regional Development Scheme (WRDS) to contribute to a feasibility study into the industry.
Currently wattle seed production in Australia is considered a 'boutique industry' with most supplies coming from small commercial operators in South Australia or from Aboriginal pickers.
The Shire of Dalwallinu is hoping to look into the growth of the industry within the region.
Dalwallinu Shire President Robert Nixon said the potential in the project is significant.
"The outcome of the study will determine Dalwallinu's potential to become a player in the growing bush food industry," Cr Nixon said.
"The potential to export products around the world with Dalwallinu's name will boost our local gross domestic product output, employment opportunities and the tourism industry."
The Shire has been working with Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) wattle expert Bruce Maslin on the wattle seed project.
Mr Maslin said the wattle seed production could have benefits not only as an industry but also as a way of controlling salinity.
"It is a very innovative and very interesting angle that the Shire of Dalwallinu has taken on wattle seed production," he said.
"There are many ways the wattle seed can be used as a food source and as many species occur naturally in the environment, it could be a different way of using a natural resource."
Wattle seeds can be used in pesto, biscuits, medicines, alternative to coffee and wheat flour and as a flavouring agent.
If determined viable through the feasibility study the development of wattle seed production will complement the planned Dalwallinu Inland Environment Centre, which is expected to be ready by late 2007.
Mark South from the WDC said the idea of wattle seed production was one with merit, which is why funding was awarded to the project.
"Dalwallinu is the ideal location in the Wheatbelt to explore the use of wattle as an industry," Mr South said.
"The flow on effects socially and economically could be of benefit to the region."
"We are keen to see the Shire of Dalwallinu also engage with local Aboriginal groups to gain some of their knowledge and insight into the wattle seed."
More funding will be sought through other means in the coming months for the study and it is understood the study will go out to tender within the year.