Mill plans to raise food lupins profile

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Coorow Seeds is expanding its presence in the human consumption market by installing a new milling facility at Coorow.

The company's chief executive, Brian Pover, said lupins were a prime focus of its enterprise and the only way that legume would grow was by entering it in the food chain.

He said there was a lot of work to be done to build consumer awareness of the feed value of lupins.

"We need to add value to lupins for them to be sustainable," he said.

"If farmers can achieve more than $300 a tonne for their lupins we think they would be sustainable.

"It is therefore important for the human consumption market to grow."

Mr Pover said that while there was no significant price premium for food lupins over feed lupins, it would be realised as the human consumption market grew. He said the company's new milling facility, expected to be up and running in the next six months, would help to realise this value.

At Mingenew expo, Mr Pover spoke to growers about which varieties they could grow to enter the human consumption market.

Coromup was the most popular and Gunyidi was fast coming on board as a suitable food lupin.

Mr Pover also spoke about overcoming marketing difficulties with WA's export partners because some countries did not see the food value of the legume.

"Countries such as Korea and Japan do not yet realise the food value of lupins," he said.

"The challenge of the food industry is to conduct more toxicology studies to satisfy those markets."

He said lupins had greatly declined in popularity among WA farmers in recent years. In 2010-11, 700,000 tonnes were produced while this year there was only an estimated 300,000t.

A lot of growers had replaced lupins with fallow or canola and this had to change for the food market to grow.

Coorow Seeds' new milling facility will also be set up to process wholemeal flours and chickpeas.

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