Sugar industry join forces on research and development

 Sugar industry bodies will collaborate on a research and development model to create a single and sustainable organisation with a larger research pool.

Canegrowers, the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) and the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance endorsed the single movement in October last year.

Following a year of consultation with industry leaders, the concern about the current system and its inability to remain financially stable, became apparent.

To remain internationally competitive, the industry needs this reform, experts say.

It is estimated that growers and millers would need to pay 99c a tonne of cane in 2013 (compared to 55c/t in 2009-10) to keep research, development and extension in the same form as in 2010 with the three existing industry research bodies, without the reform.

The single organisation, Sugar Research Australia, would allow grower and miller funds to be used more effectively, maximise government contributions and deliver research better aligned to industry priorities, according to ASMC chief executive Dominic Nolan.

"The reform package will be progressively implemented over the next 18 months into 2013," Mr Nolan said.
"Work this year will revitalise, strengthen and streamline sugar research, development and extension, and ensure the industry can continue to fund activities crucial to industry viability."

Sixteen meetings will be held between 19 to 29 March, starting in Mossman then Ballina, NSW.
Growers, millers and industry participants will be invited to participate.

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