The Victorian Government is backing its state in the race to become a national leader in alternative proteins, with the announcement of $12 million in funding for the Horsham Grains Innovation Precinct in Western Victoria. The funding will support the state’s grain crop industries to diversify into the plant-based protein market. The Western region of Victoria is currently leading the state in producing crops that are used in plant-based protein products such as lentils, faba bean, field peas and canola.
The funds will be used to construct a new glasshouse and incubation hub at the Precinct, to help advance research and innovation in plant varieties that are climate resilient and have higher protein content, to support the growing demand for plant-based foods. Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Managing Director Nigel Hart explained that the site is already home to two new glasshouses, funded by an earlier $10 million co-investment partnership with the state government and the GRDC; noting that together the new glasshouses “will accelerate solutions to some of Victoria’s grain growers’ most pressing constraints such as drought, frost, disease and pests.”
Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas said this facility will help scientists and growers meet the demand for crop varieties that are high in protein: “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,” Ms Thomas said.
The funding will also support innovation with the new Science and Business Incubation Hub at the site— a space where entrepreneurs, industry and Agriculture Victoria can come together to collaborate and explore product opportunities for plant-based proteins.
The Hub will offer collaboration space to house commercial start-ups and postgraduate researchers to explore opportunities for alternative proteins, as well as resources such as a test kitchen and analytic equipment. The hub is expected to create more than 100 research based jobs at the site.
READ MORE: Horsham Leading Plant-Based Protein Innovation [Victoria State Government]
READ MORE IN ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS NEWS: Food Frontier News