Canegrowers call on Federal Government to invest in farm best practice program

Updated February 2 2022 - 8:17am, first published January 28 2022 - 8:00am
Opportunities: Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan urge that some funding be directed to cooperative landholder programs such as Smartcane BMP.

Queensland's sugarcane peak body 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.

It comes after the federal government will spend $1 billion over the next nine years to help manage the reef, after the Commonwealth successfully lobbied UNESCO to delay a decision listing the site as "in danger".

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Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan welcomed the funding and said the organisation is calling for investment into farm best practice programs to growers.

"We welcome the news today 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," Mr 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.

The program 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 per cent of the sugarcane land in Queensland is enrolled in the program.

Already 35pc of the area is accredited as being managed to industry best practice standards, helping secure international markets for sustainable sugar.

Mr Galligan said 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," he said.

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