The Victorian government will invest $12 million to fund a state-of-the-art glasshouse and incubation hub, supporting grain crop varieties to diversify into the booming plant-based protein market.
The glasshouse will help to advance research and innovation in plant varieties that are climate resistant, have higher protein contents and support the growing demand for plant-based foods, including those made from lentils, chickpeas, field peas and almonds.
The glasshouse will form part of the Grains Innovation Precinct at Horsham SmartFarm, which is already home to two other new glasshouses that aim to accelerate the delivery of more profitable lentil and field pea varieties.
“As demand for plant-based proteins continues to increase we are helping our scientists fast-track research into breeds that can be targeted to new markets and consumers, while boosting more jobs in regional Victoria,” said Minister for Agriculture, Mary-Anne Thomas.
The new glasshouse will also support the work done at the Science and Business Incubation Hub, where Agriculture Victoria, entrepreneurs and industry can collaborate and explore product opportunities for plant-based proteins.
The state government’s announcement follows the recent news that GrainCorp, CSIRO and v2food have partnered on a $4.4 million research project, aiming to reduce Australian food manufacturers’ reliance on imported ingredients. A key element of the collaboration will be adding value to existing plant protein capabilities at GrainCorp’s oilseed processing site in Numurkah, Victoria.