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Australia: $37.6 mln invested in agriculture

Australia is investing $37.6 mln in research programmes to help farmers and agriculture better cope with climate change.

Among the projects is a national CSIRO initiative to develop genetic traits in wheat and sorghum that suit hotter, drier environments with higher levels of carbon dioxide.

Also to be investigated are the business opportunities and risks from relocating some crops and processing industries, such as peanuts, tomatoes, rice or cotton, to northern Australia.

The announcement follows the release of an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics report that warns emissions trading could rip away as much as 22% of farmers' income. That amounts to $11,000 in income lost each year for an average-sized farm of which sheep and beef producers are hit the hardest.

"This $37.6 mln for the third research priority includes $11 mln from the government and contributions from industry research bodies including Meat and Livestock Australia and the Grains Research and Development Corporation," Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said.

Natalie Berkhout

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