Plant industries development


The Katherine Research Station commercial cotton trails commenced in 2018 with both rainfed and irrigated methods investigated. The Department of Primary Industry and Resources’ Douglas Daly Research Farm has been identified for extending research and demonstration and working with commercial properties as the industry grows.

Read more about cotton research.

The Northern  Territory (NT) is renowned for growing mangoes. It supplies more than half the  mangoes produced in Australia. The NT also grows tropical fruit, vegetables,  flowers, stock feed and forestry products.

There is  significant potential for further development of plant industries in the NT to  grow food, fibre and foliage.

For information  on the growing conditions in the NT, potential commercial crops and export  markets read Opportunities for  plant industries in the NT (1.6 mb) PDF (1.6 MB) PDF (1.6 MB)

Central Australia offers a unique combination of sunshine, low humidity, cool winter temperatures and freedom from most pests and diseases. These conditions are ideal for many crops.

Extensive commercial production already exists for a wide variety of crops including table grapes, dates, melons, mangoes, figs, olives, bush foods (from Australia’s native plants) and vegetables. Fodder is also grown to support the local cattle industry.

Research by the NT Government and its partners has identified the potential for production of a diverse range of other crops including - stone fruit, nuts, temperate and subtropical fruits and ornamental flowers.

For more information on horticulture opportunities in Central Australia read Investing in the Horticultural Growth of Central Australia PDF (3.6 MB) or visit The Territory website.


Agave originates from Mexico and is used for syrups, spirits, fibre and fodder.

The agave industry is an emerging industry in Australia. There is currently no commercial cultivation in the Northern Territory.

Agave takes 6-8 years to grow to maturity, during that time researchers will assess the growth of the plants and collect data on their performance.

The department is looking for commercial growers interested in participating in a trial looking at the suitability of agave as a crop for the Katherine and Central Australian regions.

Participating growers will be supplied with 30 free plants (approximately 20 m2 under cultivation) to trial on-farm.

Northern Territory growers have until Friday, 1 October 2021 to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the department to take part in the trial.

The EOI is open for a limited number of growers, to participate:

  • You must be a commercial grower from the Katherine or Central Australia region
  • You must be willing to allow the Department to collect information on the agave plants
  • All information collected as part of the project will be openly available to the public.

If you are interested in participating in this trial on farm, please contact

This trial is being funded under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund Natural Resource Management (NRM) Drought Resilience Program - Grants.

For more information about the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, visit their website:

Last updated: 05 August 2021

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