Hon Ken Baston MLC

Hon Ken Baston MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

    WA takes the lead in national quinoa crop trials

    30/07/2015 2:00 PM
    • State Government support for national research on growing quinoa

    The State Government is leading a national research project to examine the potential to grow commercial crops of the popular health food, quinoa.


    Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston today inspected trials of the popular grain at the Department of Agriculture and Food's (DAFWA) Kununurra research facility.


    The Minister said previous department trials over the past three years indicated quinoa had the potential to be a highly profitable crop.


    Mr Baston said the new three-year research project, being led by DAFWA researchers across five States would evaluate the agronomic and economic suitability of growing quinoa under both irrigated and rain-fed systems.


    "Western Australian trial sites will be established at Merredin, Cunderdin and Kellerberrin, in addition to the existing Kununurra site," he said.


    "The research will examine several aspects of growing quinoa, from variety selection to sowing rates and dates to herbicide tolerance, as well as seed processing techniques."


    The State Government has made a funding contribution of $290,000 plus in-kind support towards the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation's national project.


    The Minister said increasing interest in the health benefits of quinoa had accelerated global demand for the grain in recent years.


    "Early trials have shown yields of two to three tonnes per hectare," Mr Baston said.


    "At a price of $1,400-$4,000 per tonne, depending on the type, quinoa has the potential to become a profitable rotation option for Western Australian growers."


    Fact File

    • Quinoa is an ancient pseudo-cereal from South America, which is gluten free, has protein with a superior amino balance and a low glycaemic index
    • Most quinoa available in Australia is imported from Bolivia and Peru, while some organically grown quinoa is produced in Tasmania
    • There is currently limited commercial cultivation of quinoa in Western Australia by one commercial grower
    • Preliminary DAFWA trials from 2012-14 at Kununurra have examined several quinoa lines, with encouraging results

    Minister's office - 6552 5400