Facilitating the development of the north Queensland banana industry (BA04008)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
In 2005 Australia's 1100-1200 banana growers produced over 20.4 million 13-kilogram cartons of bananas with an estimated wholesale value of AU$320-350 million on an area of 14,000 hectares.
Queensland accounted for 95.6 per cent of this production with the majority of it falling in north Queensland on the coastal belt between Kennedy in the south to Babinda in the north and on the Tablelands. Production also occured in SE Queensland centred around Bundaberg, and the remaining producing regions were; northern New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
The Queensland banana industry was facing rationalisation and unprecedented change. What was once a strong market was now being eroded away by internal and external factors. Two main issues for the industry were threats from imported product and public pressure to preserve the north Queensland environment.
The industry development project was developed by industry representatives to address environmental sustainability, industry communication, information and technology transfer and marketing strategy development and training. The key components of the project included:
- Establishment of farm Natural Resource Management (NRM) recommendations and associated training priorities
- Making recommendations for marketing strategies to be utilised by Queensland growers
- Communication with Queensland banana growers via a monthly newsletter, focusing on issues at the time, new initiatives, research and marketing updates
- Providing an industry specific person to represent and liaise with and provide assistance on industry issues as they arise.
Some of the main outcomes of the Industry Development Officer’s (IDO) project were the completion of a detailed survey into NRM practices used at the time in north Queensland, a suggested marketing plan for growers and a defined marketing group established, a well accepted monthly newsletter distributed to all banana growers in Queensland, establishment and maintenance of a grower data base and representation on issues of significance to the industry.
The banana industry in north Queensland was extensively damaged by Cyclone Larry in March 2006. In conjunction with Growcom (formerly QFVG), the Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) and the Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) the IDO played a vital role in ensuring that growers understood, and were able to receive, the benefits available under the various assistance packages being offered by state and federal governments.
The IDO project had been facilitated by Hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Innovation Australia) in partnership with Growcom. The project duration had been a one and a half year period on a 1 FTE basis. The ABGC and the Growcom Banana Special Interest Group highlighted the continuation of the project as a priority and this was likely to result in a new project commencing in late 2006.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of GROWCOM.
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