A CQUni professor has big plans to turn Australia’s spice import market on its head.
A CQUni professor has big plans to turn Australia’s spice import market on its head.

CQ Uni’s big plans for global spice market

AUSTRALIANS are well-known for their love of food, but new research has revealed the seasonings used to accompany our favourite dishes are equally as important.

In studies undertaken at Rockhampton’s CQUniversity last month, one local University professor uncovered a significant growth in demand for the global spice market.

So large is the demand for imported spices, Associate Professor Delwar Akbar and his team are now determined to see the nation make use of its spice producing capabilities.

The project looked to determine the suitability of northern Australian conditions to produce five different spices amid globally rising costs.

The production of black sesame, caraway, kalonji, fennel and cumin are being considered for the area – as the price tag for important cumin nears up to US$3000 a tonne.

It was recorded that in 2018 Australia imported 568t of the spices at an average import price of US$2,408 per tonne, totalling a massive US$1.37 million each year.

The report also predicts the amount of spices imported annually by 2025 will exceed more than 2000 tonne.

Studies found that changing tastes among the public and use of them as ingredients in health products had contributed to the booming global demand.

Mr Akbar revealed the investigation had shown that even in major spice producing countries, imports of certain spices had more than tripled over a 5-year period.

“The trend analyses indicate that demand for all of these spices, in both Australian and international markets, is likely to continue increasing in coming years,” he said.

“This presents a major opportunity to the Australian agricultural sector to replace Australia’s current spice imports with domestically produced crops, and for farmers to profit from the high values on offer.”

He said should the northern Australian environments and farming systems prove suitable, further research would be still be required to better understand both the value and opportunity chain for health and medicinal products.

The research was conducted as follow on from a report into the global market for sesame crops released in February.

It determined global production will need to double over the next 20 years to keep pace increasing demand for black sesame seeds.