Queensland Sugar Ltd (QSL) has announced a partnership with Queensland Cane Growers in Australia to build a blockchain for sugar provenance, writes IT News.

Queensland Sugar Limited is an Australian unlisted public company principally involved in the marketing, export and supply of bulk raw sugar. The company employs approximately 160 people, is based in Brisbane and is jointly owned by the sugar growers and millers of Queensland.

The four-year project has received a USD 2.25 million smart farm grant from the federal government in order to promote greater food chain clarity to soft drink makers and demonstrate ethical and sustainable growing standards.

The Australian sugarcane industry is primarily located along Australia’s eastern coastline, from Mossman in far north Queensland to Grafton in northern New South Wales. Approximately 4,400 cane farms grow sugarcane on around 380,000 hectares annually.  They supply 24 mills, owned by eight separate milling companies. The vast majority of cane farms are owned by sole proprietors or family partnerships. The mill ownership structures are a combination of publicly-owned entities, privately-held companies limited by guarantee, and co-operatives.

A government statement said, “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.”

Federal minister for agriculture and water resources David Littleproud cited US soft drink icon Coca-Cola, saying that it “has a plan to source 100% of its sugar from sustainable sources by 2020”, indicating that this is very much the future for companies growing a widely-used product such as sugar.

He went on to suggest that blockchain used in this way with assurances to buyers that crops are harvested using a sustainable practice would inevitably impact on the price, giving farmers a better revenue for their yield.

House of Representatives Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, said that she could see Queensland sugar prices improving for farmers in the future by using blockchain technology.

 

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