GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

[genet-news] BUSINESS & SEEDS: Australian research institute needs cash injection to continue DuPont joint venture on GE sugar cane





------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   LEVY SWEETENS SUGAR GAP

SOURCE:  North Queensland Register, Australia

AUTHOR:  Ian Morgan

URL:     http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/state/sugar/general/levy-sweetens-sugar-gap/1989278.aspx

DATE:    05.11.2010

SUMMARY: "BSES needed a cash injection so mill owners have committed an extra 10c/t this season and in 2011, while Canegrowers committed to a 20c/t additional contribution to the BSES service fee in 2011 for that year only. "That will keep BSES going and ensure the DuPont GM joint venture can continue before the review and full restructure can be rolled out," said Canegrowers chairman, Alf Cristaudo. "It's a bitter pill to swallow, but the industry is stepping up because it not only wants to survive, but thrive.""

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


LEVY SWEETENS SUGAR GAP

WITH the Queensland cane harvest having declined from a peak of 41 million tonnes in 1997 to 29.8mt last year, and as the industry's 100-year-old research arm, the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations Limited (BSES), is funded by a levy on each tonne of cane processed, there is currently a shortfall between income and expenditure, which Canegrowers and millers have agreed to rectify with a one-off levy.

The problem was explained to growers during a recent State-wide tour presided over by Canegrowers CEO, Steve Greenwood, and more than 800 growers who attended the meetings supported the levy.

Canegrowers appreciates the benefits of research and extension and understand the need for additional funding as government contributions continue to decline.

Canegrowers said the BSES had entered into a joint venture with Dupont to advance the breeding of genetically-modified (GM) cane.

Other countries are heavily involved with GM crops and $11 billion is spent each year on GM research.

In 2009, there were more than 130 million hectares of GM crops grown in 26 countries, including GM sugar beet in the US, while Brazil has GM cane ready for commercial release.

Cane farmers were told investing in GM sugarcane and SmartSett technologies had the potential to improve industry profitability in the medium to long term.

"It's forward-thinking strategies like these that have put Australia on the map - contributing to our international reputation as being at the cutting edge of raw sugar production," Mr Greenwood said.

"Our competitors are increasingly putting money into this area, and we must too if we are to stay ahead of the game."

With levy contributions down and rising costs, growers were told the gap between the income and expenditure of BSES this year would be $3.5m, and with the additional costs of the GM joint venture, if the crop size didn't increase, it would blow out to $10m in 2011.

Consequently, the industry needed to embark on a rejuvenation of its R&D functions, and Canegrowers and the Australian Sugar Milling Council have jointly commissioned a review of BSES, SRDC, and other research and extension providers to work out how their work could be co-ordinated to improve outcomes while lowering costs by forming a single restructured new research entity.

The review is being undertaken by Port Jackson Partners, and is being funded on a 50-50 basis by growers and millers, with a report on a restructured business and funding model due next year.

In the meantime, BSES needed a cash injection so mill owners have committed an extra 10c/t this season and in 2011, while Canegrowers committed to a 20c/t additional contribution to the BSES service fee in 2011 for that year only.

"That will keep BSES going and ensure the DuPont GM joint venture can continue before the review and full restructure can be rolled out," said Canegrowers chairman, Alf Cristaudo.

"It's a bitter pill to swallow, but the industry is stepping up because it not only wants to survive, but thrive." 




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GENET-news is a public news service from GENET.
Visit GENET website to learn more about GENET: www.genet-info.org
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~