(QldGovSpin) Qld researchers put beer waste to good use in Vietnam

Submitted by Editor on Mon, 15/11/2004 - 14:26

Queensland researchers are helping to protect the environment and the lot of poor farmers in Vietnam by converting waste brewery yeast into fruit fly bait, State Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Henry Palaszczuk said.

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Primary Industries & Fisheries, Henry Palaszczuk
primaryindustries@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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15/11/04

Mr Palaszczuk, who has been visiting Vietnam and will travel to Japan today, said Brisbane-based Griffith University was leading the initiative to assist poor farmers in the Mekong Delta and hill tribes in north Vietnam.

"Waste brewery yeast was previously dumped in the Mekong River. Now it is being converted into a useful fruit fly bait as well as feed supplement for livestock and fish," Mr Palaszczuk said.

"This is being done through a simple process developed by Griffith University of heating and treating with an enzyme to convert waste brewery yeast from Foster's Brewery in Tien Giang province into a protein that is highly attractive to fruit flies. The bait is mixed with a miniscule amount of insecticide and applied as a small dollop on to the tree. It is simple to apply, inexpensive to produce, and most importantly, it controls the fruit flies"

"Fruit flies and other pests can wipe out most crops if not controlled, and the traditional practice by these farmers has been to regularly drench the crops with pesticide. This harms the environment, not to mention the health of farm workers and consumers."

Mr Palaszczuk said the new technology was introduced through an ACIAR and AusAID-funded project.

Griffith University International Centre for Management of Pest Fruit Flies director Professor Dick Drew said this clean, green alternative to cover spraying with pesticides had been very successful in Vietnam.

"The minority hill tribes in north Vietnam had previously not harvested a crop of ripe peaches in 10 years because of major fruit fly problems," Professor Drew said.

"By using Griffith University's protein spot spray technology, they were recently successful in harvesting and selling a full crop, and obtaining a four-fold increase in their annual incomes."

"From the beginning the Queensland Government has provided considerable momentum and diplomatic support to ensure the success of the project."

"The next challenge is to secure venture funding to establish another factory. Funding is also needed for additional training programs for Vietnamese farmers and to sponsor further testing of the bait on other food crops in Vietnam."

Mr Palaszczuk was accompanied by former Deputy Premier and Special Queensland Government Trade Representative The Honourable Tom Burns AO in Vietnam.

Mr Palaszczuk will be in Tokyo, Japan today
(Monday, 15 November).

Media contact: Kirby Anderson 0418 197 350

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