The Victorian Government has announced its partnership with the Federation of Victoria Traditional Owner Corporations, to support local jobs by developing a native food and botanicals industry in Victoria. This is to be achieved through the Djakitjuk Djanga program, which will offer Aboriginal Victorian-owned businesses and organisations grants of up to $200,000 to help establish or expand commercial native plant production. The program will help Victorian business owners capitalise on consumer interest in using Australian native plants and herbs in cooking, and the use of botanicals for cosmetics and personal care products.
“First Peoples’ agriculture and native food practices have survived for thousands of years — by backing this industry, we’re supporting self-determination and learning valuable agricultural information. We’re proud to support our diverse agriculture sectors to grow and thrive — the Djakitjuk Djanga program will capitalise on the strong interest in native foods and explore exciting and unique Australian flavours and products,” said Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture.
Djakitjuk Djanga is a Dja Dja Wurrung term that means “Country’s food”. The industry is currently in its early stages, but funding from the program could contribute towards the employment of staff, an improvement in technical expertise, and investments in stock, seeds and equipment. The program will also help promote the industry, support future research and help people involved in native food production share their ideas. The program guidelines are now available, with applications to open from Wednesday, 4 March 2020.
“The federation is delighted to partner with the Victorian Government. This represents a significant step towards creating an industry that is shaped by and reflects the aspirations of Victoria’s First Peoples, whose generations-long knowledge and practices are fundamental to the industry,” said Jason Mifsud, Chair of the Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations.
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