Shanghai Zhongfu and CSIRO partner on cotton trials in northern Australia

02 May 2017

Kimberley Agricultural Investment (KAI), a subsidiary of Chinese company Shanghai Zhongfu, is working with CSIRO to trial a new genetically modified cotton variety in northern Australia.

A report by Australia’s ABC News states KAI has planted Monsanto Technologies’ Bollgard°3 cotton on a farm in Kimberley’s Ord Irrigation Scheme in far north Western Australia. The cotton crop, which is due for harvest in June 2017, is showing signs of being resistant to insects common during northern Australia’s wet season (November to April).

CSIRO, as part of the globally recognised Cotton Breeding Australia Research Alliance, is a driving force behind the development, deployment and adoption of genetically modified cotton varieties in Australia. CSIRO estimates Australia’s annual cotton export value at over A$1.5 billion.

‘Shanghai Zhongfu is investing considerable equity capital into northern Australia and bringing the world’s best available technology to bear to make that investment a success,’ says Tony Eyres, Senior Investment Specialist, Agribusiness and Food at Austrade.

KAI’s commitment to northern Australia’s long-term growth aligns with the federal government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia and the Western Australian Government’s Kimberley Regional Investment Blueprint. KAI currently employs approximately 70 people in Kununurra, 25 per cent of whom identify as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.