The high cost of producing a good quality ginger crop is an enormous spur, for the growers must ensure that they perform well, or risk going backwards financially. It is really important to start right at the foundation with ginger seed that is pest and disease free. Due diligence and consideration about your market, soil type, climate and water resources should also be key factors when considering growing ginger commercially.
Access to seed ginger that is free of pests and disease underpins the continued viability of the Australian ginger industry. A seed supply scheme is not presently a designated function of AGIA and currently there is no seed development program currently underway.
New entrants growing ginger find it difficult to procure seed supply and must risk purchasing seed of unknown pest and disease status or build their own seed base from tissue culture over a number of years. A lack of clean seed ginger is a well-recognised industry constraint that affects the majority of growers in the ginger industry.
There are only a few specialist seed ginger suppliers servicing the industry. Those that perform this role supply seed generally only within historical and established business networks. It is an individual business decision for growers to decide to sell their clean ginger to other growers with consideration to market forces.
Larger businesses and new entrants are adapting to these issues with new strategies to secure their access to seed ginger. The most evident adaptation is the use of tissue culture to generate clean vegetative material for seed supply and development of seed self-reliance operations by some growers or processors / wholesalers. This requires a longer-term investment and commitment to the industry because of the time and resources required from tissue culture plantlet through to seed ginger for crop production.
Further information about growing speciality crops, like ginger, can be read on the Queensland Governments Department of Agriculture website (www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/fruit-and-vegetables/specialty-crops).