Boost for fledgling Aussie quinoa industry

Boost for fledgling Aussie quinoa industry

Cropping News
DPIRD Kununurra station manager Mark Warrington and WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan inspect the Kruso White.

DPIRD Kununurra station manager Mark Warrington and WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan inspect the Kruso White.

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Australia's first open access variety of quinoa was launched in Kununurra on Tuesday, following an extensive State government-led breeding program.

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AUSTRALIA'S first open access variety of quinoa was launched in Kununurra on Tuesday, following an extensive State government-led breeding program.

The new variety, Kruso White, will support the development of Western Australia's fledgling quinoa industry.

The variety was named after the Kununurra Research Station Unit Office, where much of the plant breeding research was undertaken for the new generation superfood and the variety's highly desired colour.

Quinoa is an ancient seed in high international demand for its health benefits, as it is gluten free, has a high protein content, superior amino balance and low glycaemic index.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said Kruso White was the first contract-free quinoa variety in Australia that can be independently grown, processed and marketed.

"This flexible variety can be grown successfully from the Kimberley to the Wheatbelt in rain-fed and irrigation systems, sown in winter, spring or autumn, making it a fantastic new option for WA growers," Ms MacTiernan said.

"The variety's name, Kruso White, pays tribute to the Kununurra research facility and its staff, past and present, which has played a critical role in agricultural innovation, industry development and creating opportunity in our north.

"This tall-standing, robust variety has already attracted great interest from growers in Western Australia and interstate, who are keen to test Kruso White in their own production environments, as a grains and horticulture crop rotation option."

Australia imports the majority of its quinoa, worth more than $7 million per year, creating an opportunity for local growers to develop this high-value market opportunity.

The variety was developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with co-investment from AgriFutures Australia.

A process is underway to secure a seed distributor for Kruso White, which will be commercially available in coming months under Plant Breeder's Rights.

"WA's quinoa industry is on the rise and this new variety offers a high-value market opportunity for farmers across the State." Ms MacTiernan said.

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