Ingham Daily Press

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Covid crushes cane growers’ high price hopes

Sam and Kerry Torrisi

THE price of sugar has dropped by $100 per tonne since the start of the global health pandemic.

World prices have fallen from a high of $480 to $380 per tonne.

Sam Torrisi, the director of Herbert River Cane Growers, said: ‘It’s quite disappointing for growers but we can’t change it’.

Sam Torrisi: ‘It’s quite disappointing for the growers but we can’t change it.’

Around 60% of local farmers fixed a percentage of their crop prices at a higher rate, which will offset some of their losses.

Meanwhile the recent wet weather has delayed the beginning of this year’s cane crush, which was due to start today.

‘The CCS [commercial cane sugar] has still got a lot of water in the cane,’ the former Gilroy student said.

‘It needs to dry out to make the sugar content higher’.

Farmers are not only paid by the amount of cane cut, but also the sugar content in the crop.

Reflecting on the global price of sugar, Mr Torrisi said: ‘It depends on what happens in Brazil – Brazil is a big player’.

The South American nation has been rocked by Covid-19, as the official death toll is close to 45 thousand.

On 14 June there were 17 thousand new cases in the country.

Mr Torrisi is a second generation cane farmer.

His father Ross came to Ingham from Sicily in the 1930s and started out cutting cane by hand before going on to own land.

The cane growers’ director was speaking last night at a Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce Industry & Tourism meeting.

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