Sugarcane businesses commit to a sustainable future with BMP
CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri and his brother Joe have achieved Smartcane BMP accreditation for their Mackay district cane farms, joining 152 businesses which so far have the stamp of approval for sustainability, productivity and profitability.
They have been through an independent audit process for the three core modules of the industry-developed best management practice program which has Queensland Government support as a key driver for improving water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.
“This certificate represents confirmation of sustainable practices – showing that our crop and land management is at or above industry best practice,” Paul Schembri said. “Our industry has an impressive environmental story to tell and accreditation through Smartcane BMP is our way of demonstrating it.
“Smartcane BMP will ensure that our businesses will be sound contributors to the Queensland economy for many years to come satisfying our overseas sugar customers increasing call for guarantees of sustainability.”
65% of the sugarcane farming area in Queensland is now involved in the program, either accredited or working towards it with the assistance of a network of 16 local facilitators.
“This shows the industry’s strong commitment to playing its part towards enhanced water quality outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef, outcomes which go hand in hand with improved business profitability and productivity,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“Just four months ago we were celebrating 100 accreditations, now we have passed the 150 mark!
“And it’s important to recognise that many of these Smartcane BMP-accredited businesses represent two or three cane growers working across more than one farm. It’s a total of 43,176 hectares of accredited cane farm area.”
Paul and Joe said they fitted the accreditation process around their farming and CANEGROWERS responsibilities.
“When I first started, I thought this would be a difficult and onerous exercise and while it did take some time to complete, the more we got involved the more we could see its benefits,” Paul Schembri said. “The key to Smartcane BMP is record keeping and if you start keeping records then it can all fall into place. You know more about your business and can make better decisions.”
Paul said one of the myths circulating was that Smartcane BMP was only for growers who were computer or tech savvy.
“That is clearly not the case - Joe and I keep good records in notebooks and then we transfer the information to maps to give us a picture of what we’ve done,” he said.
“I urge all growers to get involved as soon as possible to demonstrate our industry’s readiness to meet world market demands for sugar, to safeguard the future of the Great Barrier Reef and confirm that we are in control of our industry’s affairs.”