Sugarcane industry finds new energy as 2020 season ends

Sugarcane industry finds new energy as 2020 season ends
December 22 2020

After a challenging 2020, Queensland’s sugarcane crush has ended and growers are looking forward to 2021.

“This year’s sugarcane harvest was 29.3 million tonnes in Queensland, a result around 900,000 tonnes higher than the 2019 season,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.  

“That increase can be largely put down to more favourable growing conditions in the north compared to 2019, when the early onset of the wet season had a detrimental impact on the crop.

“It is worth noting that while the weather was somewhat kinder to growers in the north of the state, the southern cane-growing region is still in the grip of a terrible drought. 

“Now that the harvest is complete, we’re hoping the predicted La Nina event brings some much-needed relief to growers in those districts.

“I thank the growers of the Queensland industry for their ongoing dedication, the field crews for their harvest work and mill workers for processing our sugarcane. 

“As an industry we have worked together this year to ensure we remained on track and on task as COVID-19 disrupted the rest of the economy.

“Agriculture is a solid foundation for many of our communities and Queensland’s bottom line.

“Despite the closure of two mills in the southern region, we do have confidence in 2021 and our industry for a long-term prosperous future,” Mr Schembri said.

As this year draws to a close, there are a lot of positives in the Australian sugarcane industry:

  • Australia’s World Trade Organisation case against Indian sugar subsidies is recommencing, 
  • The industry best practice program Smartcane BMP has accredited its 600th grower to be 18 months ahead of targets, and 
  • The time is right for sugarcane to be taken seriously as the feedstock for products beyond edible sugar crystals.

“The community is focused on the need for renewable energy and products that are environmentally sustainable – every year we grow around 400,000 hectares of sugarcane that can deliver on these needs,” Mr Schembri said. “We have to find opportunities for our industry in this.

“What the Queensland Election campaign showed us is that we cannot rely on the political process to provide leadership or direction to shape agriculture’s destiny. 

“We, as a sugar industry and agriculture more broadly, must do it for ourselves and we have started down this road with two meetings late in 2020 of leaders from across the whole industry supply chain to work on a joint vision for the future.

“Call it revitalisation, renewal or whatever you like, we are ready and 2021 will be our year to take it on!”