A national chickpea breeding program would be launched from the NSW Department of Primary Industries Tamworth Agricultural Institute under a $30 million plan to boost production and exports, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.
Mr Marshall said the Chickpea Breeding Australia (CBA) program would be a 5-year partnership between the NSW Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
“Our state’s producers account for 44 per cent of the nation’s chickpea production, so there is no better place to launch this program than in regional NSW,” Mr Marshall said.
“We see pulses as an industry ripe for growth and Chickpea Breeding Australia will give our farmers an edge over their global counterparts through the development of new chickpea varieties, and by increasing yield, quality and disease resistance.
“Chickpeas offer great advantages to growers – demand for plant-based proteins is rising, they are an excellent crop rotation potential in northern regions of NSW, chickpeas allow nitrogen fixation for following crops and there are firm prices.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson welcomed the announcement, and said the region was best placed to house the program.
“This agreement would see the investment of $10 million in new infrastructure at the NSW DPI Tamworth Agricultural Institute to bolster the market position of chickpeas even further,” Mr Anderson said.
“This includes a new glasshouse, polyhouses, seed storage and processing facilities to expand variety development across current and new growing areas.”
GRDC Chair John Woods said the Chickpea Breeding Australia program was an excellent example of ongoing collaboration between the GRDC and NSW DPI that would deliver for grain growers nationally.
“This is an important and strategic investment in both operations and infrastructure that will result in significant increases in chickpea breeding capacity over the next five years,” Mr Woods said.
“CBA will aim to deliver adapted desi and kabuli chickpea varieties through best practice breeding and innovative technology that increases the rate of genetic gain and in turn fast-tracks delivery to growers.