The sweetest thing

If there’s one thing I hadn’t expected about this area of Queensland, it’s the array of things that are produced here. From dairy and beef to tropical fruit, tea and coffee, the area could happily be self-sufficient in some of the tastiest foods there are to be had.

What I hadn’t realised about Queensland – and about the Australia in general (you can blame my small-country mindset for this) –  is how much sugar is produced here, and how important the sugarcane is to the country’s agricultural industry.

Along with gold, sugarcane was one of the main reasons cities along the coast, like Cairns, developed. The climate along here is perfect for the stuff too – nice and warm with plenty of rain. It’s so perfect in fact, that about 95% of the stuff is grown in this state, accounting for about 30m tonnes of cane and contributing to an industry worth between $1.5 and $2.5bn AUS (£900m – £1.5bn) every year.

Cane harvesting

The cane harvest has been dragged out this year thanks to a very wet winter and spring, but that’s good for me as it means I’ve been able to see some harvesting in action. The cane farmers are pretty pleased at the moment too, as the world sugar price is currently at a 30-year high of $507/t (£318/t) thanks to Brazil reducing its crop.

The price is being touted as a turning point for the industry, as farmers have been struggling on prices as low as $250/t (about £157/t) over the past few years. And if the cane farmers’ reaction around here is anything to go by, they’re certainly taking advantage of the current hike.

The trains criss-crossing Innisfail carrying the harvested cane are pretty busy as producer working overtime to take advantage of the current dry spell and get in as much crop as possible.

It looks like chocolate and iced coffee supplies are going to be okay for another year….

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2 Responses to “The sweetest thing”

  1. Mike

    Nice music choice! ;)

  2. Caroline Stocks

    I’m glad someone’s appreciated it seeing as I went through the shame of downloading it on iTunes…