AUSTRALIA: West Australian banana growers bounce back


 

Growers in Carnarvon, West Australia, have been making a steady recovery after a severe cyclone, dubbed Cyclone Olwyn, destroyed their plantations back in March 2015. Local bananas will again be available on supermarket shelves in six weeks’ time.

 

Twelve months on, Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston visited local growers to assess recovery efforts after gale-force winds and rain from the cyclone almost wiped out the local plantations.

 

“Carnarvon bananas are back in local stores, although in small quantities.  Supplies are expected to return to normal late April and May,” Mr Baston said.

 

The Minister met members of the Sweeter Banana Co-operative, which is owned and operated by 25 farmers on family-run farms, and Desert Sweet Bananas.

 

“Some plants could be salvaged but growers have replanted most of their plantations – a costly process which has taken longer than anticipated,” he said.

 

As an interim source of income, Sweeter Banana Co-operative produced and sold banana bread, enabling them to retain key staff.

 

Mr Baston said it had been a challenging time for the region’s fruit and vegetable growers as they recovered from the cyclone damage.

 

“Carnarvon is an important supplier of fruit and vegetables to the local market and growers’ ongoing recovery efforts mean consumers can continue to enjoy fresh, locally grown produce,” he said.

 

Carnarvon is the State’s biggest banana-producing region, worth an average of about $10 million over the past three years, and valued at $12 million in 2014.

 

Carnarvon’s average annual fruit and vegetable production is valued at $80 million. The gross value of WA’s agricultural production rose 0.2 per cent to $11.6 billion in 2014-15.

 

Source: Fresh Plaza



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