CANEGROWERS is convening an Australian sugar industry working group to assess and plan for the short, medium and long term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"On behalf of our members, we have taken the initiative to get the whole supply chain together to talk about what this unprecedented health emergency could mean for sugarcane harvesting, transport, processing and ultimately export of Australian raw sugar in the 2020 season," CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. "Growers and others in the industry are understandably concerned about what could happen in the coming months.
"By bringing together, on regular teleconferences, grower representatives with people from the mills, marketers and port facilities we will be able to talk through scenarios and ensure that there is cooperation at every level."
Australia has around 4,000 cane farming businesses which grow 35 million tonnes of sugarcane in a typical year. This is processed into four million tonnes of raw sugar and 85% of it is exported.
"We are very conscious of the importance of our industry, of which growers are the foundation, to the local, state and national economies," Mr Galligan said.
"We are also wanting to ensure that however the industry works as the 2020 season ramps up over the coming months, our people are kept as safe as possible.
"At the national level, CANEGROWERS is representing the industry's interests at the National Farmers' Federation-convened consultative group that is meeting on a weekly basis with the Federal Agriculture Minister and Federal Department of Agriculture to forecast and manage impacts.
"While concerns around the spread of COVID-19 mean that face to face meetings are on hold and offices are being closed, CANEGROWERS is continuing to service its members and the sugar industry through volatile times."