Australia’s largest sugar miller has announced plans to establish its own selling and marketing company.
Singaporean-owned Wilmar Sugar operates in North Queensland, producing more than two million tonnes of raw sugar a year, ABC Rural reports.
Wilmar Sugar will sever its marketing ties with Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) and create a jointly-controlled marketing company that is equally owned by growers and Wilmar.
Wilmar’s executive general manager for north Queensland, John Pratt said “We’re very confident that we can create greater value than the current arrangements.”
Growers are still coming to terms with a different marketing landscape, and many are angered by the idea.
The chairman of Canegrowers Burdekin Phil Marano said growers weren't consulted about the move away from QSL. "Until we see what they have to offer or what their proposal is, we're uncertain who this can be transparent, how we can be assured growers are getting the best price for the cane they supply."
Grower and contract harvester, Gary Stockholm is one of the 1,500 growers meeting with Wilmar to find out what exactly will be offered. "We want a guaranteed price for our sugar, how they're going to market it, how they're going to sell it and make sure we do get paid for it, how're they going to do the advances and all that, like QSL looks after us,” Stockholm said. "That's what we grow sugar for, to get paid so we want guarantees that when we put it on the line, we get our share, we get our good price for it."
The announcement is less than a year after Wilmar was forced to abandon an attempt to access a greater share of the production from its mills after it was met with fierce resistance from growers wanting to stay with QSL.