Re-inventing a mung dynasty (try it with a Kiwi accent) by Bernie Reppel

Trevor Loveridge in his mung bean crop on 'Yamba' near Gunnedah NSW.

HOW TO boost the international image of Australia's mungbeans and all sectors of the mungbean industry is the subject of a recently launched strategic plan.

The five-year plan produced under the umbrella of the Australian Mungbean Association (AMA) sees the mungbean industry doubling in size - to a "consistent and high quality" 100,000 tonnes a year.

This will be supported by grower education, better cultivars with assured production and supply of pure seed, more transparency in the marketing process, more sustainable pest management and a strong industry structure winning more research funding.

The plan was born from months of debate and negotiation by the people who grow, process and trade Australia's mungbeans - and the scientists who help them do it.

The AMA launched the new strategic plan and various strategies for 2003-08 in Brisbane at the end of last year. AMA president Brian Algate said the mungbean industry holds an unusual responsibility in grain production, because mungbeans are a specialist food crop, requiring high standards of safety and hygiene.

"That's why the Mungbean Association is backing the new strategic plan with the simultaneous release of a code of practice for registered Mungbean Processing Establishments and a Marketing Your Mungbeans guide for producers. (See 'Resources' this page.)

"The association believes the code of practice will encourage uniformity in the acking and marketing process, including a clear schedule of potential fees, realistic indications of quality, price and timeframe for the sale and payment, and a grading report."

AMA-registered processing facilities are also committed to minimising deterioration in storage through the use of aerated silos and soft handling techniques.

Mr Algate said, while the code of practice and marketing guide were the two major components of the strategic plan's goal of grower education, there were also plans for agronomic packages, export information updates and a publication for accredited mung bean agronomists.

To develop mungbean cultivars that would perform consistently, the strategic plan called for the sourcing aud screening of local and overseas germplasm to select and identify desirable traits according to the requirements of the industry.

Other goals covered by the strategic plan include:

  • more sustainable pest management, including registration of new product technology, best practices use of technology and post-farmgate management of pests like bruchids
  • ensuring pure seed production and supply through a seed scheme with a uniform quality assurance process across the industry, audited by the AMA, delivering quality seed at equitable value
  • maintaining a strong industry structure, with increased grassroots grower representation, for a unified approach to a range of industry problems, and
  • a range of activities to increase funding for mungbean research.

Contact: Mr Brian Aigate 07 3341 4548