Quinoa — Opportunities and Challenges in Australia

AgriFutures Australia

Type: Research Paper

Farm Table says:

Interesting look at the processes involved in developing a new cropping option - and the opportunities that exist in the Quinoa market.

What is the problem?

Does quinoa present a new crop opportunity for Australian farmers?

  • It can be grown in subtropical and temperate cropping regions.
  • Farmers need information about production systems.
  • Prospects to manage risks and opportunities in forward plans.
  • Australians consume more quinoa than is grown in Australia, with most domestic suppliers and retailers depending heavily on imported product for supply.
  • Many other countries around the world also depend on imported quinoa to meet domestic demand.
  • The major growers and exporters of quinoa to the world are Peru and Bolivia.

What does the report involve?

Quinoa production is barely established in Australia, so before embarking on a new enterprise, answers are needed for some critical questions.

  • Who are you going to sell your quinoa to?
  • How are you going to process the seed that you produce?
  • Where will you get the seed to sow a crop?

As of March 2017, some major challenges exist for prospective growers of quinoa but some of these are being addressed by current research projects.

  • There are no publicly available varieties of quinoa that have been identified or selected for Australian farming environments; however RIRDC-funded evaluation trials are well underway.
  • There is no agronomy package for quinoa growers; although experience suggests that the crop is quite like canola to grow.
  • The most significant agronomy issue is a lack of pesticides registered for use on quinoa in Australia.
  • Quinoa has no industry organization.

Sourcing seed

  • Worldwide, there is seed for over 16,000 lines of quinoa and its wild relatives stored
    in 59 gene banks in 30 countries, including Australia
  • It is possible to grow plants from quinoa seed purchased at retail food stores. However, the risk of this approach is that there is no information about the purity or integrity of the seed
  • Importing agricultural seed is possible  but must be imported according to Australian Government requirements

What were the key findings?

Quinoa is an emerging crop in Australia, and therefore industry-determined guidelines and  standards for seed quality need to be established.

There are ‘in-house’ standards established by existing growers and processors in Australia, to ensure their own
product meets the requirements of the particular markets they supply, however there are no industry-wide standards
to guide new growers.

2017 - Australia - AgriFutures Australia
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About the Organisation

Name: AgriFutures Australia
Email: belinda.allitt@agrifutures.com.au

AgriFutures Australia is a new beginning for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. We are an organisation that proudly focuses on the future of Australian agriculture. We live and work in the regions and represent the interests and aspirations of farmers and rural communities.

Our vision is to grow the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries. In practical terms, this means:

Initiatives that attract capable people into careers in agriculture, build the capability of future rural leaders, and support change makers and thought leaders.
Research and analysis to understand and address important issues on the horizon for Australian agriculture.
Research and development for established industries that do not have their own Research & Development Corporation (RDC), including the Rice, Chicken Meat, Honey Bee and Pollination, Thoroughbred Horse, Pasture Seeds, Export Fodder, Ginger and Tea Tree Oil industries.
Research and development to accelerate the establishment and expansion of new rural industries, such as Deer, Buffalo, Kangaroo and Camel Milk.

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