Queensland’s sugarcane industry body is urging the Federal Government to invest some of the $1 billion for the Great Barrier Reef into cooperative landholder programs.
Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said programs such as Smartcane BMP works with growers on their farms to identify practical changes they can make, tailored to their business, to achieve accreditation.
“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,” Galligan said.
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“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. “
More than 80 per cent of the sugarcane land in Queensland is enrolled in the program. Already 35 per cent 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,” Galligan said.