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Global agribusiness giant Cargill has launched a programme in Australia to help meet rising demand for sustainable canola and to help farmers connect with new and emerging markets.

The aim of the SustainConnect programme was to develop new revenue streams for canola producers in Australia while helping the company meet rising demand from domestic and international customers for sustainable Australian canola, Cargill said on 12 February.

The new Australian programme built on Cargill’s global efforts to introduce sustainable farming programmes across its global supply chains, which included its RegenConnect program in North America and Europe, the company said.

“Changes made at the grassroots of our supply chains can deliver a significant impact in reducing emissions and building the resilience of our soils for the next generation,” Cargill environmental market lead, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Ben Fargher said.

“We are … working … with canola growers, supporting them with tools, resources – and importantly, market access – to make the shift to sustainable agriculture.”

Cargill said the new programme provided a financial incentive for positive environmental outcomes through the adoption of sustainable practices, while helping to improve soil health and decarbonise the agricultural supply chain.

As part of the new programme, Australian canola growers could choose from a range of sustainable agriculture practices including nutrient management interventions, reduced or no-tillage and crop residue retention, the company said.

Cargill said it had partnered with carbon measurement business Regrow to measure, report and verify (MRV) carbon outcomes using in-field data, remote sensing and crop and soil health modelling.

Growers would receive a guaranteed US$25/ha, subject to practices introduced in compliance with a one-year agreement, with total compensation based on the total hectares the farmer had enrolled in the programme, the company said.

Currently available to Australian canola farmers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, Cargill said it had plans to extend the programme to Western Australian.

The company said it was also looking into opportunities to expand the Cargill programme to grains and the first barley pilots were underway.

Australian canola farmers have until 31 March 2024 to join the SustainConnect programme.