Millions to go to legume research

MILLIONS of dollars will be spent researching the production of chickpeas, legumes, lentils and beans in an attempt to meet increasing demand from Asia for tropical pulses.

The Queensland University of Technology has been allocated $4.8 million in the Queensland Budget to run the research program into tropical pulses, which covers chickpeas, legumes, lentils and beans.

Agricultural Minister John McVeigh said Asian economies were crying out for millions of tonnes a year of plant-based proteins.

"We want to develop more adaptable varieties and better farming practices so that we increase our total area under pulses and increase yields," he said.

"We'll do that by developing varieties that are disease and drought-tolerant and able to handle higher levels of soil salinity, for example.

"The tiger economies of Asia are hungry for protein and Queensland will now be even better placed to meet the demand."

Mr McVeigh said in the past tropical pulses had been treated as a secondary crop in Queensland.

The money will be used to construct glasshouses and undertake commercialisation and technology transfer with the farming sector.

QUT will also oversee research and development in the areas of generic crop improvement, salinity and drought tolerance of tropical pulses, pest management and farming practices.

"The funds will underpin a partnership with the Queensland University of Technology to help position Queensland as a leading exporter of pulses to India and Asia," Mr McVeigh said.

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