Biosecurity and sustainability in the banana industry (BA19005)
What was it all about?
From 2020 to 2023, this investment supported the role and activities of Industry Strategic Manager (ISM) Michelle McKinlay within the Australian Banana Grower’s Council. The ISM worked with growers to develop, implement and respond to industry-related strategies and policies, and provided support for the adoption of new practices to align with these strategies.
An important outcome that dominated the work of this project was to provide a “voice” for the banana industry when it is invited to discuss biosecurity and sustainability issues. The government has identified biosecurity and water quality/sustainability as two key priority areas. This project connected government and industry priorities and allowed the banana industry to prepare responses to issues that may impact growers’ future profitability.
In addition to influencing policy and program development, the BA19005 project has also successfully delivered on three other outcomes:
- Enabled the ABGC’s Best Management Practice team (and other banana-related projects) to help growers make more informed decisions about biosecurity and sustainability.
- Worked to provide an industry that is well regarded and recognized for its attitude and positive actions in relation to biosecurity and sustainability.
- Provided better alignment between banana related projects to leverage greater benefits for banana growers and funding bodies.
The ISM worked with important stakeholders to seek input in determining the priorities that need to be tackled to keep the industry profitable. This resulted in the banana industry’s involvement in issues that include the:
- Development of environmental regulations.
- Transition of the TR4 Program from government to industry leadership.
- Contribution to the national and Queensland biosecurity strategies.
- Introduction of the biosecurity protection levy.
- Water quality improvements.
The ISM also successfully influenced and negotiated with the Australian and Queensland governments to fund water quality and biosecurity projects for the benefit of the banana industry. The total funding for these projects during BA19005 exceeds $4.4 million and will leave a legacy of improved capability across the industry.
The project was independently evaluated and found to be very effective in delivering on its purpose and desired outcomes. It had a significant impact. The key success factors were the ISM’s existing relationships, background, knowledge, skill set and attitude. The report confirmed that stakeholders thought it was essential to have someone dedicated to strategy and looking to the horizon to identify, assess and take on emerging issues.
This program was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Banana Fund