New research group sweet
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.
Investing in future: Mossman Canegrowers’ chairman Drew Watson
Sheraton’s best: general manager Lachlan Walker with Diane Wellham