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Banana harvest on pace, Carnarvon begins again

Australian Banana growers are watching the weather at the start of the annual wet season as cyclones appear to be the biggest potential threat to another strong production year and as Western Australia’s Carnarvon region begins to see fruit again after Cyclone Olwyn hit the area in March this year.

From now until April is when banana growers in North Queensland, where 95% of Australia’s bananas are produced, are keeping an eye on weather forecasts. That is including the Tropical Cyclone outlook, released this month. “Generally, the advice is that a strong El Nino weather pattern will reduce the impacts from tropical cyclones,” says Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) Chairman Doug Phillips. "It’s encouraging for banana growers to know that current forecasts are for a less active cyclone season but we’re all very aware that it only takes one cyclone making landfall in our banana growing regions to potentially cause significant damage to banana plants.”

Australia’s banana production for the 2015 financial year was 1,000 tonnes above the strong production recorded last financial year, at 371,000 tonnes for the 2015 season, and on track to continue the same for the rest of the year. “Since the start of the new financial year in July, production has been keeping pace with the production levels achieved a year earlier. It’s too early to make any forecasts about full-year production at this stage,” says Mr Phillips.
 
Further information on production will be discussed at the ABGC AGM on December 2.
 
Supply of bananas has not been affected by the discovery of Panama Tropical Race 4, a fungal disease pathogen, on a single farm in Tully, with the conclusion of the emergency phase of the outbreak in September and the start of a new response phase. The ABGC is working with Biosecurity Queensland to manage the response to the disease. “There have so far been $5.9 million in banana industry and government-funded TR4 research projects announced,” added Mr Phillips. “The $26 million National Banana Freckle Eradication Program is continuing in the Northern Territory. All banana plants have been removed from six eradication zones and banana plants will be reintroduced after the wet season, in May next year.”

For more information
Visit the Australian Banana Growers Council website: www.abgc.org.au 


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