Over 18,000 Reef Credits sold by QLD sugarcane farmers
Five sugarcane farming businesses have successfully sold 18,000 Reef Credits to the Queensland Government as a result of changes to land management practices which prevented 18 tonnes of Nitrogen pollution from flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.
The announcement follows the successful sale of the first-ever Reef Credits in October 2020, generated by North Queensland cane growers Brian and Jamie Dore, and purchased by global bank HSBC.
Each Reef Credit represents 1kg of nitrogen prevented from flowing into the Great Barrier Reef – a verifiable and measurable outcome in terms of water quality improvement.
Carole Sweatman, General Manager, Water, for GreenCollar who developed the projects in partnership with the farmers said: “This is another fantastic vote of confidence for the expansion of the Reef Credits market in the coming months and years, with this latest sale bringing the total number of Reef Credits issued to approximately 25,000 – which means 25 tonnes of Nitrogen has been prevented from flowing to the Reef.”
“Recognising and valuing the important role of farmers and graziers is not only key to reaching longer term water quality targets but provides long term income that helps pay for on-farm improvements, without compromising the productivity of their land,” she said.
There are now two different improvements that land managers can implement on their properties to generate Reef Credits: managed fertiliser application to reduce nutrient run-off, and gully rehabilitation to reduce sediment run-off. GreenCollar is also working with land managers to develop a third methodology focusing on wetland projects.
Sweet Cane Director Peter Anderson, who has a Reef Credit Project in Tully commented: “Our neighbours were the first farmers to be issued Reef Credits and introduced us to how it works as a commercial transaction, with a number of potential buyers from government to corporate.
“Participating has sharpened our focus on only applying nutrients that are required by the crop – if less fertiliser can be used without impacting productivity, that means lower costs and high profitability.
“In that sense it’s a win/win, as the additional income stream will enable us to continue to invest in industry leading technology and equipment to drive improved outcomes for our farm and also benefiting the Reef,” Mr Anderson said.
The Reef Credit Scheme was developed through a partnership with GreenCollar, Terrain Natural Resource Management, NQ Dry Tropics, researchers, industry and the community. The Queensland government funded Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP) which has purchased the new Credits, is one of the Queensland Government’s flagship projects under the $270 million Queensland Reef Water Quality Program and played a significant role in supporting the creation of the Reef Credit Scheme.
The Reef Credit Scheme is an independent market mechanism established to measure, value and market audited water quality improvements for Queensland’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. It is Australia’s first voluntary environmental market and the world’s first Reef Credit Scheme.
The scheme is now managed by independent, not-for-profit company, Eco-Markets Australia.
Details of projects:
Jamie and Brian Dore – Dore and Co Pty Ltd, located in Tully, FNQ
Peter Anderson – Sweet Cane Pty Ltd, located in Tully, FNQ
Wayne Gattera – TWA Farms and Gattera and Devaney Farms located in South Johnstone, FNQ
Adrian Darveniza – South Johnstone Farming Company, located in South Johnstone, FNQ