Pulse Australia scales back programs

25 May, 2016 09:09 AM

PULSE Australia will scale down its extension program after the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) decided to cut funding for extension for Pulse Australia in favour of implementing a new strategic direction for its pulse industry investment.

Pulse Australia will focus on its ex-farmgate roles, which include developing markets for Australian pulses and advocacy at a national and international level.

Pulse Australia board member David Matthews said the company was looking at how it would adapt to the downsizing, but said the organisation would continue its role as the voice of the Australian pulse industry.

"We've been speaking to our members and they have all said there is a need for Pulse Australia and the role it plays," Mr Matthews said.

"In the field and extension work with pulses will switch across to the GRDC but we will continue to provide our other services."

A GRCA spokeswoman confirmed the cuts, saying the GRDC-funded project run by Pulse Australia ended on August 31.

"The GRDC does not invest in or sponsor organisations, but rather in projects that deliver outcomes for growers," she said.

She said the organisation was implementing a new hierarchy and classification for its investment portfolio.

As part of its new investment strategy in the pulse sector, the GRDC will run a range of projects, including finalising pulse-specific GrowNotes for the southern and western regions.

It will also issue an open call for the delivery of face-to-face technical workshops and for extension activities.

Mr Matthews said Pulse Australia would continue to be critical for the Australian pulse industry even after the shake-up.

He said Pulse Australia was needed to fill other roles within the industry such as:

p Advocacy at a national & international level;

p Oversight of national pulse production;

p Oversight of pulse quality;

p Co-ordinated response to industry issues.

Mr Matthews said Pulse Australia added value to the industry by compiling and providing production, yield and export data, along with ensuring receival and export standards.

He said the body liaised with government and industry to present a balanced industry view, advocated on behalf of Australia in regards to market access issue and represented the nation's interests at international pulse forums.

Mr Matthews confirmed the body was in talks with the Australian Oilseeds Federation about potential arrangements where the two organisations, which enjoy a close working relationship, could share back office functions to cut costs.

The GRDC contributed about $500,000 of Pulse Australia's $1 million budget.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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