Beazley cites unconventional farming opportunities

Zach RelphCountryman
Governor of WA Kim Beazley speaking at the National Agriculture Day event in Perth.
Camera IconGovernor of WA Kim Beazley speaking at the National Agriculture Day event in Perth. Credit: Zach Relph

Governor of WA Kim Beazley has applauded the State’s farmers for thinking outside the square and tapping into abstract farming opportunities.

The former Federal Labor leader told last Thursday’s National Agriculture Day forum in Perth that producers exploring alternatives, such as edible insect farming, were benefiting the agriculture industry.

Mr Beazley, pictured, cited farming crickets as an emerging prospect, with the small insects gaining popularity as food in nations including Vietnam.

Although noting insect farming was unlikely to replace mainstay agricultural industries, Mr Beazley said it could “generate new lucrative industries”.

“While not my preference personally, the fact that 80 per cent of the world consumes insects as a regular part of their diet speaks to opportunities for new farming,” he said.

“Further, cricket flour, of all things, contains 65 per cent protein potentially offering nutritious foods to overseas markets.

“This has seen businesses in Australia, including in the West, think boldly and have the courage to explore alternative and often more sustainable farming.”

Insect farmer Paula Pownall founded WA’s first edible cricket farm Grubs Up, based near Pinjarra, in 2016 in an effort to produce an alternative protein source.

Mr Beazley also acknowledged other “out of the square initiatives”, including the application of native flies for the pollination of commercial crops.

“This thinking could easily be dismissed, but with bees under pressure worldwide, and potentially billions of dollars in enhanced yields at stake, this research certainly is exciting,” he said.

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