Horticulture in Central Australia

Location: Central Northern Territory, Australia

Sector: Agribusiness

Estimated total project cost: Variable dependent on location, scale and infrastructure


The Northern Territory has untapped natural potential for the production of clean and safe foods, with good water resources and substantial areas of arable land.

Central Australia has been identified as presenting a diverse range of horticulture development opportunities, with significant commercial potential from a range of crops.

The Territory’s transport and logistics infrastructure continues to develop providing access to southern Australia markets and South East Asia. There is ongoing investment from the public and private sectors in rail, road and airport, as well as expansion of the Darwin Port, Australia’s closest deep water port to Asia.

The Northern Territory Government continues to provide industry focused research to convert horticultural prospects into profitable commercial opportunities.

Rows of vegetables growing in field

About horticulture in Central Australia

Central Australia is ideal for horticulture. It has a unique combination of abundant sunshine, low humidity, cool winter temperatures, freedom from most pests and diseases, and an established reputation for producing quality produce.

Commercial production of table grapes, dates, melons, mangoes, figs, olives, bush foods (from Australia’s native plants) and vegetables currently exists. Crops like table grapes and melons have a counter seasonal advantage in domestic markets resulting in a price premium.

There are significant opportunities for further development of horticulture in Central Australia where suitable water and soil resources co-exist.

Research by the Northern Territory Government and its partners has identified the potential for production of other crops including: stone fruit, nuts, temperate and subtropical fruits and ornamental flowers.

Map of Northern Territory showing location of the five plant industry precincts.

Central Australia plant industry precincts

Five plant industry precincts with suitable soil and water have been identified - Alice Springs (A), Ti Tree (B) and Western Davenport (C). The Tennant Creek (D) and Great Artesian Basin (E) precincts are priorities for future development.

Plant crop opportunities

Asparagus stalks Soybean plants

Quinoa plants Almond trees

Jujube fruit Garlic bulbs

© Western Australian Agriculture Authority (Department of Agriculture and Food, WA).

The value of the Northern Territory's farming industries in 2015 was $244 million

Illustration of grapes and watermelon

($157 million)
from fruit production

Illustration of raindrops of a plant

($87 million) from vegetables, nursery, turf production, hay and weekend markets

Source: Economic Profile of Plant Based Industries in the Northern Territory 2015. NT Farmers Association.

Contact details

Linda Lee
Director Agribusiness Development
Department of Primary Industry and Resources

Phone: +61 8 8999 6058


For the full prospectus go to the Department of Primary Industry and Resources website

Disclaimer: This web page includes information provided by third parties. The information is general in nature and is for information purposes only. The Northern Territory Government makes no representation about the veracity or accuracy of information provided by third parties. You must rely on your own due diligence before proceeding. You should consider seeking independent professional advice.