DAF Enhanced Extension Coordination: Empowering and upskilling women in the Burdekin

A training package for women in the Burdekin sugar industry was funded through the Enhanced Extension Coordination in Great Barrier Reef project in partnership with the Burdekin Bowen Integrated Floodplain Management Advisory Committee (BBIFMAC) and behaviour specialists, Evidn (formerly Behaviour Innovation). The training package increased the skills and knowledge of female sugarcane growers and other women involved in the sugarcane industry through change management.

The training comprised of two workshops delivered to Women in Sugar Burdekin members and other women from the Burdekin sugarcane community (e.g., growers, millers, extension officers). The first workshop, held in March 2019, focused on the Smartcane Best Management Practice program and several local farmers who had recently been through the best management practice (BMP) process were invited to talk to the group. They also offered mentoring support to anyone considering doing BMP.

Social outcomes were reported from the workshop. Participants completed surveys before and after the workshop. Several improvements to attitudes and perceived barriers were noted. In particular, the mean score for the survey question ‘how likely is it that you will implement a farming practice that is linked to improving water quality’ increased by 9.57% from the pre-survey to the post-survey, indicating a positive change in attitude of the participants as a result of the workshop.