Sugarcane growers get sweet funding boost in Queensland

The Queensland government is providing $6 million in funding to help cane-growers, while easing environmental impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

The government announced its investment in the Smartcane BMP program in early October.

Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch, said the investment in Smartcane BMP would ensure the ongoing delivery of the program through local facilitators, easing hip-pocket pressures for growers while having a positive impact on the Reef.

“Smartcane BMP provides a practical and robust means for cane-growers to demonstrate their stewardship of the environment while strengthening their productivity and profits,” said Enoch.

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To date, the Queensland government has provided $8.25 million to cane-growers to develop, promote and implement the voluntary, industry-led program,” she said.

“What it does is recognise growers’ efforts towards minimising nutrient, pesticide and sediment run-off from their properties into Great Barrier Reef waters.

“Through programs like Smartcane BMP, we can achieve positive and powerful outcomes for our environment, for industry, and for Queensland farming communities,” said Enoch.

Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said with 70 per cent of Queensland’s sugarcane growing area already engaged in the program, and an increasing number of growers seeking accreditation, this commitment will ensure the program’s momentum will continue.

“Smartcane BMP is giving our members the opportunity to set the record straight about what they’ve already achieved on their farms, as well as identify and implementing further practice changes to meet business and environmental goals.

“As more growers participate, the program lays down an increasingly solid foundation for the future of the sugarcane industry, and this is being recognised across the international supply chain,” he said.

“By meeting the Bonsucro international standard for sugar sustainability, and receiving conditional approval as meeting the sustainable agriculture standards of some of our biggest international customers, Smartcane BMP is providing opportunities for greater market access around the world,” said Galligan.

Enoch said the funding was provided to specifically work with and encourage growers to complete the program to achieve accreditation in Smartcane BMP, with an increased focus on extension and education work with growers.

“Smartcane BMP accreditation is based on the latest scientific evidence and best practice information for the industry,” she said.