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Western Australia bananas catching up with Queensland

Far North Queensland has long been the stronghold of the banana industry, but could the region's reputation as the best banana growing region in the country under threat?

In Western Australia extensive trials are underway to work out why Carnarvon bananas have a shorter shelf life than bananas grown in the north.

The research has prompted a major investment by Western Australia's Sweeter Banana Cooperative to bring the latest technology to its cooling systems and packing sheds.

Business development manager Doriana Mangilli says the improvements have already achieved longer shelf life of bananas by days and a 90 per cent reduction in rejection rates.

"It's pretty much keeping the temperature (of the bananas) as low as we can from the moment it's picked."

"... what we're seeing is we're actually catching up those Queensland bananas now in terms of when you buy them in the shops and get them home."

Australian Banana Grower Council president Doug Phillips, who grows bananas on the Cassowary Coast, has applauded the initiative which he says is addressing environmental issues specific to Canarvon where temperatures can reach 40 degrees but without the humidity experienced in North Queensland.

"They are using these micro sprinklers within the (packing) shed and that almost works like an evaporative cooling system so those types of systems generally work very well in the drier climates but we don't really get those same high temperatures."

Mr Phillips says the methods might be different but the objective remains the same - to get the bananas into cool storage as quickly as possible.

"At times if necessary, if fruit is going to be stored in a non controlled environment, the use of sprinklers on the fruit to help keep it cool is certainly used in North Queensland which I am sure it is in Western Australia to."

"At the end of the day, all we are is growers who are trying to the very best that we can and make sure that the product that each of us, whether it's in North Queensland or Western Australia, is the very best that we can do."


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