Sunday, 29 May 2011

Australian Ginger Future, Squatters, Increasing Production and Antimicrobial Properties

The Fijian government is taking a novel approach to the problem of squatters. The Jet community newspaper has reported that twenty one families with farming backgrounds have been selected to take part in a pilot programme. The government has set aside 30 acres between the families and will provide each with a home. The families will also be provided with seeds for crops such as ginger, given the appropriate training and encouraged to sell the resulting harvest at local markets. I wish the scheme well.

Last week I read how two neighbouring regions are experiencing diametrically opposite views about the ginger industry. First, the Sunshine Coast Daily reported that farmers in the coastal region are seriously considering giving up growing ginger following the second successive poor harvest caused by the dreaded pythium rot disease. And then, on the same day, The Gympie Times reported that the Gympie region, an area immediately to the north of the Sunshine Coast, is the ideal location for growing ginger. To emphasise the point, Gympie was chosen to host last week's inaugural conference of the Australian Ginger Industry Association.

Participants met at last week's Australian Ginger Industry Association conference to discuss a proposed five-year strategic plan to develop the industry. At the moment I don't have any more information about the conference but when I do I will let you know.

The Sri Lankan government is offering ginger farmers subsidised fertiliser in an effort to become self-sufficient in the crop. The country is in a similar situation to India in that it has a thriving export market coupled with increasing demand from the home market. This increase in domestic demand seems to be driven by the popularity of ayurvedic medicine which has forced the Department of Ayurveda to import ginger. This has a consequent effect on the country's balance of payments so it makes sense to increase production.

Browsing through the Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases the other day (I do like to vary my reading material occasionally) I found the results of a Brazilian study into the antimicrobial activities of certain essential oils and propolis. To be honest, I did rather regret varying my reading material so much that day. It was one of those documents that had me posing questions such as what does this mean, what does that mean, and have I already looked up the meaning of this word. Anyway, the conclusion of the report, I think, was that ginger essential oil with propolis (a resinous substance that honey bees collect from some plants) does have an observable effect on microorganisms such Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. If you would like to read the report of the study and let me know what it means, here is the link.

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