Almost 200 Herbert River sugar growers have declared they will not sign any cane supply agreements with Wilmar Sugar.
Conflicting reports about the agreements from Wilmar and Canegrowers Herbert River have emerged, with the sugar company claiming it has received more enquiries from the Herbert than anywhere else.
Directors from Canegrowers Herbert River met with 197 growers from across the region at meetings held in Macknade, Bambaroo and Ingham on Monday and Tuesday.
Manager Peter Sheedy confirmed all the growers at the meetings had unanimously stood up and refused to sign any Wilmar agreements not approved by Canegrowers Queensland.
Mr Sheedy said he strongly encouraged all growers to hold off on signing a non-negotiated agreement with Wilmar.
“After having withdrawn the Draft Cane Supply Agreement (CSA) that was given to us, Wilmar sent us a replacement draft on the afternoon of July 18,” he said.
“The original draft CSA contained particularly aggressive changes to the field operational aspects of the CSA whereas the replacement looks a lot more like what is in our current Collective three-year CSA, but it still contains several barbs that will not sit well with the growing and harvesting sector.
“Your directors consider the current set of draft documents are not reasonable in their current form.
“Our view has not changed in regard to the non-negotiated draft individual CSA which is also unacceptable.”
A Wilmar Sugar Australia spokesman said it had already received signatures from Herbert River growers.
“A number of growers in the Herbert have already signed. Others have indicated that they will sign this week,” he said.
“At the same time as our discussions with collectives, we continue to provide information to individual growers who wish to sign agreements and begin forward pricing.
“Wilmar has spent a considerable amount of money, time and effort to draft cane supply agreements which are in compliance with the Act and include provisions covering the full range of matters that are required to effectively manage the implementation of the amended Act.”