Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Sugar Industry Interests Colombian Ambassador

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Sugar Industry Interests Colombian Ambassador

Article excerpt

COLOMBIA'S new Ambassador to Australia was in Mackay at the weekend to learn more about the region's sugar industry.

Diego Betancur was joined by Colombian-born Patricia Duque, who has lived in Australia for nine years and is a consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Brisbane. Mr Betancur has been Colombia's ambassador to Australia for the past five months.

The brief visit included a tour of Mackay Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri's Farleigh farm.

"It was very interesting to see the planting and harvesting done by machine," Mr Betancur said. "In Colombia planting and harvesting is all done by hand.

"We are moving slowly towards mechanisation, but there are some 15,000 people employed as labourers in the industry with perhaps another 45,000 people dependent on their wages, and we would struggle to find work for them if we moved too quickly to mechanical harvesting and planting."

Senor Betancur said Colombia was a country of 45 million people which produced 2. …

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