​Media Release

Backing Australian premium sustainable sugar: smart!

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud
Member for Capricornia​, Michelle Landry


4 July 2018​

  • Coalition Government delivers $2.25 million to Queensland Cane Growers' Organisation for Sustainable Sugar Project
  • Includes blockchain technology to put in place Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP)
  • Project delivered through Queensland Cane Growers'  in partnership with Queensland Sugar Ltd; one of 15 projects worth $27 million through round one of Smart Farming Partnerships grants

Queensland Sugarcane growers will be able to show big sugar buyers how sustainably their product was grown thanks to a cutting edge project funded by the Coalition Government.

The Sustainable Sugar Project aims to use encrypted data, called blockchain, to clearly show sugar buyers where the sugarcane came from and the sustainability of that farm. Big sugar buyers, who are seeking more and more sustainably grown product, are likely to pay more in future for sustainably grown and fully traceable sugar as their customers ask for it.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said this smart farm project will help farmers gain recognition for farming sustainably and hopefully down the track, increase farm gate prices.

"Canegrowers across central Queensland are getting on board with the Smartcane Best Management Practice approach to soil health, vegetation and biodiversity," Ms Landry said.

"They deserve to be recognised and rewarded for it.

"The $2.25 million Smart Farm grant was delivered to Queensland Cane Growers' who will partner with Queensland Sugar Ltd on this four year project."

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said consumers and food manufacturers want sustainably sourced food and fibre, including sugar, and they want to know where it comes from.

"This project aims to use new blockchain technology, which is an encrypted chain of data, to show clearly where the sugarcane came from and the sustainability of that farm," Minister Littleproud said.

"The reason this data is so important is it cannot be tampered with.

"Coca-Cola, for example, has a plan to source 100 per cent of its sugar from sustainable sources by 2020.

"Blockchain technology would help Coca-Cola to pinpoint sustainably grown sugar in the supply chain, where it came from and who grew it.

"This technology would provide assurances around the sustainability of our sugar and ensure canefarmers using sustainable practices can attract a premium price for their product.

"Because the demand for sustainably produced food continues to grow this project will help to increase exports and help gain better access to markets to capitalise on our important free trade agreements."

​For more information about the National Landcare Program visit www.nrm.gov.au.

Fast Facts:

  • Smart Farming Partnership Grants ranged between $480,000 and $4 million.
  • The National Landcare Program's second phase is an investment of more than $1 billion to 2023.
  • Landcare was launched in 1989 and has had bipartisan support for nearly 30 years.
  • Almost 80 per cent of Australia's sugar production is exported as bulk raw sugar, making Australia the third largest sugar exporter in the world.
  • Sugar exports in 2016/17 were worth $1.7 billion in export earnings for Queensland.
  • ​Asia is a major focus with key export markets including: South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.
  • ​Sugar is set to benefit from free trade agreements such as the TPP11, the Peru FTA.
  • KAFTA and JAEPA both eliminated the tariff on sugar on entry into force.
  • In 2017, sugar exports to Korea and Japan grew to $953 million and $407 million respectively since the FTAs came into force (2014 and 2015) up some 125 per cent and 94 per cent respectively on pre KAFTA and JAEPA figures.