Farming for the Future: Grower-Led Partnership Takes Progressive Steps to Preserve the Great Barrier Reef
When Gerry Deguara, a second-generation sugarcane farmer in Australia’s Mackay Whitsunday region, learned that water runoff from his land and other farms in the area were threatening the health of the Great Barrier Reef and its surrounding ecosystem, he knew he wanted to become part of the solution – not the problem.
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“The perception was that we were destroying the reef almost intentionally,” Deguara recalls. “And that’s the point I didn’t like.”
Heavy rains washed fertilizers and pesticides off sugarcane farms and into waterways leading to the world’s largest coral reef system, located off the coast of Queensland.
Through Project Catalyst, a collaboration among
Coca-Cola, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), natural resource management groups Reef Catchments, Terrain, NQ Dry Tropics and the Australian government, Deguara and a group of fellow landholders are developing and testing progressive farming practices to improve the quality of the water runoff.
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