Bundaberg Sugar is making a major move into organics to capitalise on growing demand from retailers and manufacturers.
The company has achieved Australian Certified Organic (ACO) status on 20 hectares of land, and these will produce around 2,000 tonnes of organic sugar cane this year, with the first of the organic cane to be crushed at the end of the 2018 season and processed at its Millaquin site.
A further 35 hectares of land is currently in transition from standard to organic farming, the Queensland sugar producer and processor said.
Bundaberg Sugar CEO Guy Basile said interest from retailers and manufacturers prompted Bundaberg Sugar to grow organic sugar cane on its company farms.
“Customer interest is not only in organic sugar but particularly Australian grown organic. This is a first for Bundaberg Sugar and we will be the only suppliers of Australian organic sugar,” he said.
“Initially we will produce small quantities of organic raw sugar but growth and further reach into the market will allow us to increase production.”
Basile said the company planned to attract those retailers and manufacturers that were currently purchasing organic sugar from overseas.
Bundaberg Sugar general manager operations David Pickering said the company had had to ensure the land on its farms has had only organic inputs for a number of years prior to being certified, and the organic product had to be segregated from normal production during the transportation and milling of the cane.
“There is a significant emphasis on cleaning between making non-organic and organic sugar. It normally takes around two to three days for the sugar process to cycle through the mill.
“Therefore, in manufacturing organic sugar, we have to modify our production to ensure we are processing organic product only.
“We have further stringent procedures in place within our packaging plant to segregate the organic from non-organic sugar,” Pickering said.