- Friday 27 February 2009
News that the federal government has today signed an agreement to deliver a $1 million dollar grant to help complete a Sunshine Coast ‘cow candy’ factory was welcomed today by Councillor Debbie Blumel.
The BioCane Ltd factory at Bli Bli uses technology invented in Australia to produce sweet dry fodder, known as ‘cow candy’, which is exported to cattle feedlots in Asia.
As one of BioCane’s strongest advocates to secure the federal grant, Cr Blumel said that the signing of the agreement means the Sunshine Coast Council can now move to finalise its remaining grant to BioCane of $125,000 out of a total of $500,000.
“The federal and local government grants will aid in ensuring the financial viability of cane farms, the prosperity of farming families and create many new jobs,” Cr Blumel said.
“If 600,000 tonnes of cow candy is exported each year, the value will be pushing up towards $90 million each year.
“That will be a terrific boost for the regional economy.”
Cr Blumel said that with the world economy in trouble, it is imperative to support regional economic drivers with the potential to create jobs.
“Sugar cane is one of the few crops of commercial significance that can be farmed on the 9,000 hectare Maroochy River floodplain and the cow candy market is ready to surge.
“BioCane expects to employ 32 people during construction of the Bli Bli factory and approximately 18 permanent jobs will be created at the plant,” Cr Blumel said.
BioCane Chairman, Scott Grimley, said that the funds would be immediately applied to the completion of the factory scheduled for April, and to fund a rapid increase in cane production.
“This is welcome news for the many growers who have been patient with the delays the project has suffered,” Mr Grimley said.
“Market demand for cow candy is very strong and this must be met as quickly as possible.
“As all of our production is for the export market, the federal funding will bring forward Australia’s export revenues.”
Mr Grimley expressed his sincere thanks to the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan and Councillor Blumel who have worked together to make the federal grant a reality.
“I am very grateful to these people who have had a hand in achieving such a successful outcome,” Mr Grimley said.
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