The Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation has been awarded more than half a million dollars to expand its crocodile farm in Ramingining.
Rangers have been collecting and incubating crocodiles eggs to sell to the Darwin Crocodile Farm for many years, but increased demand has sparked plans for the enterprise to grow and raise reptiles in the community.
The Federal Government’s $535,000 will fund infrastructure upgrades including construction of a bigger farm and processing area alongside the installation of more incubators and freezers.
It will also create six new jobs and build technical expertise within the community as the farm moves to increase production to 2,000 crocodiles every year.
Arafura Swamp Rangers chief executive officer Dominic Nicholls has welcomed the funding.
“Arafura Rangers have a long history working with the crocodile industry and it was clearly time for expansion and locals being awarded greater profit for their work,” Mr Nicholls said.
“It’s a wise investment from the government.”
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion said the funding is a fantastic boost for the local economy.
“In every community there are Indigenous entrepreneurs who have the ideas and energy to start a business but the banks rarely took on the risk of lending to people in remote and regional communities,” Minister Scullion said.
“There are too many Indigenous entrepreneurs whose business ideas have the potential to transform their communities but they just need a hand to get started. Through the IEF we are giving Indigenous entrepreneurs a fair-go.
“The Arafura Swamp Rangers are combining local knowledge and expertise with an emerging industry, as more people look for crocodile skin and meat through international markets.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2019.
The funding is part of the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy.