AU: Growing gains in black rice and hemp

Of all the calories consumed by the world's population every year, more than half come from rice, wheat, and maize. However, as much as quantity remains a crucial factor in feeding the world, there is a growing demand for improved nutritional value, greater diversity, and environmental sustainability of crops. Black rice and hemp are two examples, and at Southern Cross Plant Science, Associate Professor Kretzschmar is investigating both.

"We're a regional university, and both black rice and hemp are regional crops grown in this region, and I think it's part of our mandate to support the regional industries. Here we're focusing on niche crops rather than broad commodity crops. I think we have a competitive advantage in this space, especially in hemp," he says.

"At the moment, we are running two projects: we have a medicinal cannabis project under a CRC-P with Kaan Group group industry partner out of Victoria, and we have a hemp project looking at hemp seed quality that's with the regional industry partner out in Nimbin, Andrew Kavasilas, and that's through an ARC Linkage project."

"Hemp is an incredibly versatile crop. I'd almost call it the Swiss army knife of crops."

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