AWS prepared papers for a workshop on 15th March 2018 convened by the Maranoa Kangaroo Harvesters and Growers Cooperative (MKHGC) at Mitchell in Qld. The Cooperative, which was established in 2007 with financial support from the National Landcare Program and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, in 2017 MKHGC received further support from the Australian Government Farming Together Program.
The Cooperative exists because kangaroos, and some other native wildlife, have long competed with agricultural production and grazing systems. Through regional cooperation across property boundaries, landholders have an opportunity to manage kangaroos more efficiently. The Cooperative seeks to convert a liability into an asset, while contributing to more sustainable land management, conservation of biodiversity and earning carbon and stewardship credits. It aims to increase the capacity for landholders, including Indigenous landholders, to benefit from kangaroo management on their lands. Membership is comprised of landholders, kangaroo harvesters, chiller box operators, scientists.
The Co-operative sells kangaroos to processors, gaining an additional margin over standard price/kg for the additional services it provides. A stronger Cooperative would be a model for the kangaroo industry more generally.
Increasing value of kangaroo products.
In 2017 an average kangaroo is worth $13. If it were as valuable as a feral goat or even a wild deer, landholders would have an incentive to co-produce kangaroos alongside conventional livestock and make greater use of commercial harvesting. Doing so would also help address the falling sustainability of many rangeland production systems and strengthen economic activity in rural towns.
Raising the market value of kangaroo products means increasing the demand, emphasising their positive attributes, including high-protein, low-fat, low greenhouse gas emission efficiently produced meat, high boning-out percentage and lower water use compared to cattle and sheep.
The papers produced by AWS covered business options, feasibility studies into innovations and sustainable pastoral production across the region.