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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    New varieties boost chickpeas to billion-dollar export crop


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    New varieties boost chickpeas to billion-dollar export crop

    Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has reaffirmed her Government's support for development of new varieties, including chickpeas, to boost farm profits and exports.

    Visiting Capella in central Queensland today, the Premier said the Government was delivering its $420 million Advance Queensland program, including the commitment for a 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan for Agriculture and Food Research, Development and Extension. The consultation period closed on 4 August and the Government is analysing submissions.

    “By working with primary producers, wider industry and other research institutions, my Government is supporting effective and targeted research, development and extension to produce great results for our State and it will steer the next wave of productivity growth,” the Premier said.

    “The stunning growth in production and exports of chickpeas developed & grown in Queensland, worth $793 million in 2016-17, is a testament to our work together.”

    “Chickpeas are Queensland’s fastest growing export product. Export sales nationally increased by $700 million to $1.3 billion last financial year. That’s a stunning 106% increase,” she said.

    The growth in chickpea sales overseas has helped Queensland exports increase by 48% to a record $65.9 billion last financial year since the Palaszczuk Government took office at the start of 2015.

    “From my trade mission to India in March, there is a strong demand for Queensland chickpeas and our industry is seizing on that opportunity,” the Premier said.

    "Across central Queensland, there is an estimated 300,000 hectares of chickpeas. That's almost twice the size of Brisbane and tens of thousands more hectares are under cultivation in the Darling Downs and southern Queensland."

    “My Government, through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, has been working and investing alongside industry with the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Pulse Australia, growers and research collaborators. That work has been focussed on breeding, agronomy, seed quality, disease resilience to increase productivity and improved market access.

    “Working together we have developed a billion-dollar export industry for Queensland. That brings new prosperity to producers, their families and their communities. It creates jobs through the supply chain – from farm supplies through to port for export.”

    Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said increased chickpea production and higher prices had contributed to the latest record estimated value of Queensland’s primary industry commodities.

    “The latest AgTrends report estimates the total value of our primary industry commodities for 2016-17 at $19.95 billion,” the Minister said.

    “That is 20% greater than the average for the past five years and an increase of $1.45 billion on the value of farm gate production and first-stage processing that was forecast last year.

    “Chickpeas are now the fourth top commodity, behind cattle, sugar cane and cotton.

    “That hasn’t happened by accident.

    "Government supported research has produced superior varieties and the sector has enormous potential for further growth.”

    The Premier said her Government’s investment built upon the work of earlier   Governments that recognised the potential for pulses.

    “My father Henry had the privilege to serve as Queensland’s Primary Industries Minister from 1998 to 2005. He recognised the potential for chickpeas, particularly for export,” she said.

    “In 2001, he championed the potential for new varieties for Queensland growers. At that stage, drought had limited chickpea production to only 6000 hectares in central Queensland. This year chickpeas will be grown on an area 50 times the size. The season is better and the prices are stronger.”

    Link to former Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk’s 2001 press release on central Queensland chickpea potential

    Link to pictures from the Premier's visit to the Gersbach family's property Kurrajong near Capella.

    Producer Gary Gersbach, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Central Highlands Regional Councillor Paul Bell AM

    Father Tim Gersbach and his son Theodore

    Kurrajong property shots (chickpeas) (chickpeas)

    Media contact: Geoff Breusch (Premier’s office) 0417 272 875