The MSF Sugar Maryborough Mill
The MSF Sugar Maryborough Mill Maggie Zemek

OUR SAY: Answers needed on sugar mill future

CANE farming has a long and proud history in this region.

That is why there has been so much concern in the community after it was announced MSF Sugar's parent company, Mitr Pohl, was looking to sell its farmland in the Fraser Coast region.

Yesterday Maryborough chairman Jeff Atkinson said the mill-owned farms accounted for 30 per cent of the cane processed at the mill, along with cane from individual growers in the Maryborough and Sunshine Coast regions.

That means there isn't just a question mark over the future of those farms, but over the future of Maryborough Sugar Mill, which currently is not for sale.

Mr Atkinson fears the mill will no longer be viable if that land is taken out of cane production.

Many are disappointed people were not offered the opportunity to purchase some of the land.

Many of the farmers have invested heavily in the production of cane - a sign of good faith, even though they were leasing the land from MSF Sugar.

Now I think it's fair to say some of them feel betrayed.

It has been confirmed that the mill will continue operating as usual through the 2020 crushing season.

That provides little assurance to growers who have been on the land for decades.

This level of uncertainty is terrible for our cane growers.

It's also troubling for the wider community and Fraser Coast economy, already struggling due to COVID-19.

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