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Plant to triple export value

A $1.5 million pulse processing plant, just opened in Fremantle, could raise the value of some of WA’s pulse exports up to 300 per cent.

Pulses include field and chick peas and are becoming widely used in crop rotations because they help condition the soil.

WA’s pulse industry is worth more than $290 million to the State’s economy. That is expected to double by 2005.

WANGA Trading managing director Bruce Carstairs said the majority of WA’s agricultural products left Australia unprocessed.

“Our aim is to extract a little more value out of these products,” he said.

The plant will dehull and split various pulses for the Indian and Middle Eastern markets.

“We’ll eventually look to move onto milling the pulses for flour,” Mr Carstairs said.

He said the plant was the first premium quality pulse splitting plant in WA.

“There are a number of similar plants in the eastern states,” Mr Carstairs said.

At full capacity the plant will only produce 15,000 tonnes of processed pulses. However, it can easily be expanded.

“Farmers are usually very entrepreneurial on their own farms when it comes to producing but they don’t tend to look too far down the line,” Mr Carstairs said.

“This is a demonstration of farmers wanting to get out and take more responsibility.”

He said the project was timely as the agricultural industry faced National Competition Commission reviews.

The WA Government provided a $200,000 grant to assist with the plant’s construction.

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