Growers call for investment in farm best practice program

Queensland’s sugarcane industry has a results-focused suggestion of where the Federal Government could invest some of the reported $1 billion it is planning to commit to the Great Barrier Reef.

“We welcome the news today (January 28 2022) that the Federal Government is planning new investments in projects that make a difference to the Great Barrier Reef and urge that some funding be directed to cooperative landholder programs such as Smartcane BMP,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.

“By encouraging and validating industry best practice, including fertiliser and chemical use, Smartcane BMP has allowed farmers to demonstrate a positive impact on catchment water quality while also balancing the need for a profitable farming business.

“This voluntary program is well ahead of the targets set for it when the State Government contributed to its rollout, but that funding is running down with the Queensland investment ending mid 2022.

“It works with growers on their farms to identify practical changes they can make, tailored to their business, to achieve accreditation.”

Through unprecedented engagement and commitment by growers, more than 80% of the sugarcane land in Queensland is enrolled in the program. Already 35% of the area is accredited as being managed to industry best practice standards, helping secure international markets for sustainable sugar.

As project manager on behalf of the whole sugarcane industry, CANEGROWERS is calling for ongoing commitments from government and industry for it to continue.

“Cooperative partnerships with landholders will always achieve more than a big stick such as regulation and the sugarcane industry is proving this with programs such as Smartcane BMP and other grower-led initiatives,” Mr Galligan said.