New re­search group sweet

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

MOSS­MAN su­gar­cane grow­ers and ma­jor milling cor­po­rates in­clud­ing Moss­man Mill owner Mackay Su­gar have agreed to sup­port the for­ma­tion of Su­gar Re­search Aus­tralia.

Chair­man of Moss­man Cane­grow­ers Drew Wat­son said the break­through was wel­come news and some­thing that was sorely needed.

“We have a num­ber of is­sues within our in­dus­try and ev­ery­one needs to be work­ing to­gether to bring about change,” he said.

“And now that the grow­ers and the millers will be shar­ing the cost equally that has to be a good thing.

“The new re­search body will be able to get solid fund­ing to re­search a raft of is­sues in­clud­ing for­eign trade, breed­ing pro­grams and dis­eases such as su­gar smut.”

Up un­til seven years ago there was no su­gar smut in Aus­tralia, but with its ar­rival re­search is vi­tal to find ways to erad­i­cate it.

“Un­for­tu­nately su­gar smut is not se­lec­tive in which va­ri­eties of su­gar it at­tacks and we have lost sev­eral good va­ri­eties to this dis­ease,” Mr Wat­son said.

“We continue to screen for su­gar smut but qual­ity and con­tin­ued well-funded re­search into breed­ing pro­grams is es­sen­tial and of course va­ri­eties that have a higher su­gar con­tent is the ideal goal.”

More than 4000 su­gar­cane grow- ing busi­nesses and mill com­pa­nies throughout the state are re­ceiv­ing their first for­mal let­ter from the Aus­tralian Su­gar In­dus­try Al­liance, Cane­grow­ers and the Aus­tralian Su­gar Milling Coun­cil that will lead into a su­gar poll vote next month on the new or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Joint sec­re­tary of ASA and Cane- grow­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Steve Greenwood, said it was vi­tal that ev­ery­body vote “yes” for the new body which will also be reg­u­lated un­der a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment Act.

“Some grow­ers will also see this im­por­tant let­ter through ad­ver­tise­ments or elec­tron­i­cally,” he said.

“The ASA is work­ing to reach all su­gar in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants with in­for­ma­tion about the Su­gar Poll and to en­cour­age large num­bers of grow­ers to vote next month and to vote “yes” for the in­dus­try to es­tab­lish a mod­ern, fo­cused, not-for­profit in­dus­try owned com­pany, Su­gar Re­search Aus­tralia.”

Dur­ing the next few weeks, groups in mill ar­eas across Queens­land and north­ern NSW will be lift­ing the level of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and dis­cus­sion about the su­gar poll.

This ac­tiv­ity will build on the 14 ASA in­dus­try meet­ings in March and May at­tended by nearly 1000 grow­ers and other stake­hold­ers fol­low­ing many other con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions dur­ing 2011 and 2012.

Photo by BRAD DEANE

In­vest­ing in fu­ture: Moss­man Cane­grow­ers’ chair­man Drew Wat­son

Photo by BRAD DEANE

Sher­a­ton’s best: gen­eral man­ager Lach­lan Walker with Diane Well­ham

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