Global demand for palm and crude oil alternatives combined with concern about Ukraine's oilseed crop production this season have led to a significant increase in demand for Australian-grown high oleic safflower oil, ABC News wrote.
With Ukraine being one of the world’s leading sunflower oil producers, the impact of Russia’s invasion of the country on 24 February had increased demand for high oleic oilseeds, according to Australian bio-lubricant developer GO Resources.
The Melbourne-based company has been developing an Australian safflower crop, with varieties bred using genetic modification to have 'super high' levels of oleic acid, ranging from 92%-95%, according to the 23 March report.
GO Resources research and development lead David Hudson said that enquiries from European buyers about his company's product had significantly increased due to the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
“We're just starting to see that through this unfortunate situation that (global markets are) looking for an alternative supply of the super high oleic oil,” he said.
“It will potentially help us fast track the opportunity here. But the key for us is making sure farmers can grow it sustainably. We don't want farmers going in and out of the crop.”
High oleic oils contain large amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids and have a range of specialist uses, from food to pharmaceutical and high-end industrial lubricants.
While it has a range of applications, Hudson said the company was focusing on using safflower oil to develop bio-based industrial formulations of lubricants and transformer oils.
Australian farmers will grow up to 12,000ha of safflower this season across several states, according to the ABC News report, with West Australian farmers sowing about 3,000 ha, marking the first commercial safflower crop to be grown in that region.