Farmer’s cane pain fol­low­ing su­gar dump

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

PROSER­PINE cane farmer Peter Faust said the In­dian Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to dump five mil­lion tonnes of sub­sidised su­gar onto the global mar­ket was “a big kick in the belly” for lo­cal cane grow­ers.

“When­ever you have to com­pete in a sub­sidised mar­ket, the play­ing fields aren’t level. We hap­pily pay our em­ploy­ees a de­cent wage and we’re up against coun­tries that don’t, and that takes its toll,” Mr Faust said.

The global price of raw su­gar dropped to 30 per cent of the pro­duc­tion cost, which se­verely im­pacted cane crop in Proser­pine fol­low­ing dam­age from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie and now, drought con­di­tions.

The su­gar in­dus­try re­mains the re­gion’s prin­ci­pal in­dus­try, but Mr Faust said di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion might be the way to go if the cy­cles of bad luck be­come more fre­quent, which he be­lieves they have.

“There is a chance that this de­ci­sion might be a cat­a­lyst for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of crop in the re­gion in the fu­ture,” he said.

PHOTO: CLAU­DIA ALP

TOUGH: Cane farmer Peter Faust said In­dia’s su­gar dump is the con­tin­u­a­tion of an 18-month strug­gle.

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