ABSOLUTELY ideal local growing conditions for flowers has left open the possibility that Glenelg and neighbouring shires could some day provide millions of poppies for the pharmaceutical industry.
Trials now underway by industry leader GlaxoSmithKlein in the south-west do not yet include Glenelg Shire, but there is no reason why a future round of testing could not take place locally, according to Steve Morris, director of opiates for GSK.
“Good soil is good soil and Glenelg Shire certainly qualifies,” Mr Morris said. “We’ll have to evaluate our present trials through testing at Port Fairy and see where we go from here.”
Until recently, all poppy opiate production had been confined to north-west and north central Tasmania, where locals are used to the sight of vast fields of the whitish-purple flowers along major roadsides.
But recently, state parliament has taken the first steps in okaying harvesting of the alkaloid in Victoria. The south-west, with its moderate climate, excellent soils and reliable rainfall, is considered a prime potential location for a business which could exceed $100 million in value someday.
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.