Organic venture for Bundaberg Sugar

Bundaberg Sugar is growing its first organic sugar crops.
Bundaberg Sugar is growing its first organic sugar crops. Paul Donaldson BUN110717STCK12

BUNDABERG is going to get a whole lot sweeter with Bundaberg Sugar planting its first crop of organic sugar cane on its company farms.

The company has achieved Australian Certified Organic status and its crop will be an Australian first with no other organic sugar crops grown in the country.

It will make Bundaberg the only supplier of organic sugar in Australia.

Bundaberg Sugar national sales manager Neil Warburton said the increasing interest in organic foods was what caused Bundaberg Sugar to start growing organic cane.

"Organic sugar was grown 10 or 15 years ago in Australia but it was quite hard to grow and then it fell by the wayside,” he said.

"There's been a lot more interest in it (organic sugar) so we decided now is a good time to get back into it.”

The groundbreaking decision to go organic was made by Bundaberg Sugar about two years ago, with a lot of preparation work to go into the organic process.

"We need to select the piece of land, then have it tested to make sure it is in conversion, which basically means it's going organic,” he said.

"It's a little bit of a lengthy process to get the land prepared.”

For a block of land to go organic, there can be no use of chemicals in things such as fertilisers.

Mr Warburton said at this stage it was hard to say if other sugar suppliers around Australia would venture into organic sugar like Bundaberg Sugar had chosen to do.

"The organic market in Australia is quite small and also quite new, but it is growing at a rapid rate,” he said.

"The interest that we've had recently, and even before we were certified as organic, is quite big.

"I've had many, many phone calls weekly to see if we actually have it. Right now, there is none in Australia other than imported product.”

He also gave his insight into why he thinks Australians want more organic products today.

"I saw some research that said that over 75 or 80 per cent of people would consider buying organic product if they could,” he said.

"I think it is all to do with having a healthier lifestyle and, while sugar tends to be the bad guy, I think it is the perception that organic is better for you.”

The organic raw sugar will be milled at the Millaquin mill on the bank of the Burnett River in Bundaberg.

Topics:  bundaberg bundaberg sugar organic sugar sugar cane industry

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