Traditional Australian Medicinal Plants Agribusiness Project
Integria is pleased to announce an Australian-first partnership to explore the development of a sustainable agribusiness model for traditional Australian medicinal plants growing in Northern Australia.
The partnership between Integria Healthcare, Menzies School of Health Research, Traditional Homeland Enterprises and The University of Queensland has received $363,363 in funding from the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia(CRCNA) for the first 18 month phase of the project. An additional $188,845 in cash and $461,074 in-kind has been contributed by the project participants.
John Kavanagh, Integria CEO, says Integria will build on its expertise in traditional herbal medicines and experience gained from its early involvement with Australian tea tree oil to lead the development of prototype healthcare products based on traditional medicinal plants.
“Integria brings to the project over 60 years of experience in the production of traditional herbal medicines. Once the early stage research is completed, Integria will use the findings to further the development of prototype products in collaboration with the Indigenous Communities. Integria looks forward to playing a role in the development of Australia’s own traditional medicinal plants,” said Kavanagh.
The collaboration brings together extensive research and industry experience to focus on traditional Australian medicinal plants as an important biological, cultural and economic resource.
Traditional medicinal plants will be evaluated at Menzies in Darwin and the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland, with a view to using these findings to develop prototype healthcare products.
The long-term goal of the project is the development of a local industry with opportunities in Indigenous workforce development, sustainable regional development in Northern Australia, and ultimately the development of uniquely Australian, value-added products.
Traditional Homeland Enterprises brings to the partnership its experience in the Kakadu plum industry to collaborate with Top End communities in developing models for sustainable Indigenous-led agribusinesses and explore solutions to challenges such as supply chain, benefit sharing and intellectual property management.
Opportunities for Indigenous communities
According to Mark Mayo, the partnership’s Indigenous Steering Committee representative and Menzies researcher, the group initiated plans for this project with a view to creating important opportunities for collaboration and mutual learning through the application of modern science to Indigenous knowledge.
“This exciting project will provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to share their knowledge of medicinal plants, developed over thousands of years, with researchers that have expertise in laboratory testing and healthcare product development,” Mayo said.
“The project also offers employment and training for Indigenous people, as well as the possibility of developing a sustainable agribusiness for future employment and training in Indigenous communities,” he said.
“In addition to laboratory work, there are opportunities to explore and preserve Indigenous knowledge of traditional medicinal plants and their use,” said Menzies Honorary Fellow Dr Greg Leach.