Australians have long supported, and in many cases have been willing to pay a premium for, Australian made agricultural products.
Whether it’s meat, fruit, vegetables or sugar, Aussies love to know where their food is grown and support local farmers.
But imagine picking up a bag of sugar at your local supermarket and knowing not just that it was Australian made, but what region it came from, what refinery it was processed at, where the raw sugar was stored, what mill the sugarcane was crushed at, and even the farm and paddock where the cane was grown.
This may be a little too much information for most people, but increasingly consumers want reassurance that the products they are consuming have been sustainably produced.
In order to meet this growing demand from customers, large sugar buyers such as Coca Cola, Nestle and even supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths, are insisting that the sugar used in their products meets sustainability criteria around farming practices, environmental issues, and workforce conditions.
The onus is on industry to ensure we are meeting these requirements if we want to remain competitive in these markets.
For this reason, CANEGROWERS has been working hard to ensure Queensland’s sugar industry is recognised as one of the world’s top suppliers of sustainably produced sugar.
Working with farmers, mills, bulk storage facilities, refineries and sugar buyers, we have developed a blockchain platform that can track sugar from paddock to packet.
Using the industry-led best management practice program, Smartcane BMP, as the benchmark for sustainability, sugarcane grown on accredited farms can be followed right through the supply chain to the point of sale, giving buyers confidence that the Australian sugar they are consuming has been sustainably produced.
This is just one of the many ways the Queensland sugar industry and CANEGROWERS are embracing new technologies and innovation to ensure we remain competitive and support our growers and the communities we support
Rain on the horizon
It looks like the rain that the Bureau of Meteorology has been warning us about may soon arrive, potentially disrupting the rest of the harvest season.
Unfortunately, there is the very real possibility that some growers will not be able to harvest all of their cane and will be left with standover cane in the paddock.
This will have an impact on grower income not just for the 2022 but also for the next one or two seasons.
It will be of particular concern to growers who have forward priced their cane and are now concerned they may not be able to meet their pricing commitments.
I would urge any growers in this situation to contact their marketer as soon as possible. There are mechanisms in place that can help mitigate the impact of any shortfall.