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Wattle seed growers struggle to keep up with rising demand for nutrient-rich native bushfood

Wattle seed has been a mainstay in the diet of Indigenous Australians for thousands of years, but the native edible seed has become so popular in recent years that commercial growers can't keep up with demand.

The seed, known for its nutritional value, is a rich source of protein and high in fibre.

Mark Lucas started growing wattle trees at his property in South Australia's Riverland 23 years ago but said growing the trees to harvest the seeds came about as a bit of an accident.

"I was growing flowers for the Japanese flower market and I had a couple of rows of wattle seeds as windbreaks for the flowers," he said.

"Then the Japanese economy fell over and they were no longer importing flowers because it was a luxury item."

"So, I pulled out my flowers … and a friend of mine pointed out that it [wattle seed] is edible seed and it was in demand for the bushfood industry, so I thought, 'I better keep them' and have planted more ever since."

 

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ABC Rural (13 March 2019)