Following an extensive assessment of the summer floods of 2010-11, the cotton industry has a clear appreciation of the scale of damage as well as the current and future costs that have been incurred.
To date, it has been confirmed that approximately 22,000 hectares of cotton have been written-off, with estimates of a further 20,000 hectares seriously affected and unable to be fully recovered..
Notably, and on the other hand, many growers were not seriously flooded and instead may benefit from the season’s rainfall; in fact there are some estimates of productivity that exceed 12 bales a hectare.
Even so, Monsanto Australia recognises that enormous assistance is required and has committed to provide $2 million to help severely flood affected Australian cotton farmers.
Monsanto Australia Country Lead, Peter O’Keeffe says the company is pleased to be able to make this commitment to the Australian cotton industry.
“Monsanto wants to work within the most cost-effective and targeted method to ensure the funds get to those who need it, as soon as possible.
“I’m sure no-one wants to see a repeat of other relief efforts where assistance funds are unnecessarily slowed-down by red-tape or are side-tracked.
“We also trust that other stakeholders and suppliers have identified their contributions.”
Mr O’Keeffe says Monsanto supports in-principle Cotton Australia’s ‘Cotton Flood Fund’ initiative.
“It appears a sensible approach to handling our support commitment. We expect Cotton Australia will detail its progressin making the ‘Cotton Flood Fund’ operational in the very near future. The fund has transitioned from a short term emergency response to a longer term recovery program.”
For President of the Darling Downs Cotton Growers Association, Stuart Armitage, Monsanto’s initiative is a great start to helping industry through this period.
“In my view, the focus for the broader industry is to further build the size of the fund using contributions from other industry bodies and members. If we could get it to say $4M, that would be really very significant.
“The key need, as I see it, is to help people get started for next year’s crop. We need to be able to help people have another shot at cotton. It’s a great industry and the prospects are good – it’s just that we have this major one-off hit to deal with.”
For Queensland Central Highlands Comet district irrigator, Craig Barsby, it is positive that the situation facing cotton growers is appreciated and understood.
“It’s good to see that Monsanto, out of all the companies we deal with, are recognising the growers - who’ve diligently provided the on-farm stewardship of GM technology.
“Ideally, it would be good to see an equitable and efficient system established to allocate the funds in the most meaningful way that respects individual circumstances. I’m sure they’re working on that.
He adds that the broader industry needs to appreciate that the effects of these floods will last for years.
“It will take a long time and a lot of money for farm families, farm businesses and all their equipment and infrastructure, to get back to what could be called ‘normal’,” he said.
Keryn Mclean, Corporate Affairs Ph: 03 9522 7165 Mob: 0409 536 446
Michael Worthington, CEO, PMA A-NZ Mob 0409 181 034
Steve Ogden-Barnes, Unit Chair for Practicum and Internships Deakin Graduate School of Business, Deakin University Ph: 03 9244 5021
About Monsanto Company: Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world’s natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: www.monsanto.com